Concept

John Widgery, Baron Widgery

Résumé
John Passmore Widgery, Baron Widgery, (24 July 1911 – 26 July 1981) was an English judge who served as Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales from 1971 to 1980. He is principally noted for presiding over the Widgery Tribunal on the events of Bloody Sunday. Widgery came from a North Devon family which had been living in South Molton for many generations. His father, Samuel Widgery (died 1940), was a house furnisher; his mother Bertha Elizabeth, née Passmore, was Samuel's second wife, and served as a magistrate. An ancestor had been a gaoler. Widgery attended Queen's College, Taunton, where he became head prefect. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1933 after serving as an articled clerk, but instead of going into practice, he joined Gibson and Welldon, a well-known firm of law tutors. He was an effective lecturer in the years leading up to World War II while he was also commissioned into the Royal Engineers (Territorial Army) in 1938, having joined as a sapper. As a searchlight officer, in 1940 he transferred to the Royal Artillery. Widgery participated in the Normandy landings. By the end of the war he had an OBE, the Croix de Guerre (France), and the Order of Leopold (Belgium), and had reached the rank of brigadier. Widgery was an active freemason. After demobilization Widgery changed to another branch of the legal profession as he was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn in 1946. He gathered a reputation for being a fast talker, and eventually came to specialise in disputes over rating and town planning, where his methodical approach and self-control were useful attributes. In 1958 he was made a Queen's Counsel, the first such award given to a post-war barrister. Widgery became a High Court judge in 1961, receiving the customary knighthood. As a judge he did not draw attention to himself and his judgments tended not to include any comments which were pithy, memorable or quotable. However, his calmness produced judgments which were generally regarded as fair and humane.
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