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Denman, Thomas, 1st Baron Denman

Denman, Thomas, 1st Baron Denman (1779–1854). Lawyer. Son of a doctor, Denman was sent to Eton and to St John's College, Cambridge. His sympathies were Whig/radical and he defended Cochrane (1814) and Jeremy Brandreth (1816). In 1818 he entered Parliament for Wareham, transferring to Nottingham in 1820. He was appointed solicitor-general to Queen Caroline and acquired great popularity in her defence, though his style was considered florid. When the whigs took office in 1830 Denman became attorney-general and took a prominent part in defending the Reform Bill. In 1832 he was appointed chief justice of King's Bench and was given a barony in 1834. In Stockdale v. Hansard (1837) he maintained that parliamentary privilege could not cover libel, though the decision ultimately went the other way. Much of his later work was concerned with the abolition of the slave trade. Not a profound lawyer, Denman's reputation was as a reformer.

J. A. Cannon

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