Female Lay Litigant Accorded Precedence Over Attorney-General, 1853

Another ‘lady’ advocate story from the Evening Freeman, 12 January 1853:

“The Hon. Justice Crampton entered court shortly after twelve o’clock, and took his seat on the bench, costumed in his full dress peruke and state robes…. Mrs Winter, who had been waiting the sitting of the full court… said that she appeared to sustain a motion for an attachment against the defendant, an attorney… The Lord Chief Justice observed that he did not see why Mrs Winter could demand to be heard just then, or how she assumed precedence before the members of the bar then present. For instance, the Attorney General was then in court….

Mrs Winter claimed precedence as a lady, and said that she had always understood that the ‘sex’ took precedence even at the judicial bar (this version of the law was received with cordial merriment and cheerful concession by all present, bar included)… After a long discussion between the lady and the court, she was directed to give notice of her present motion for Thursday next, with assurance that her case should receive just and patient consideration.”

Only one of many court appearances by the redoubtable Mrs Catherine Winter!

Author: Ruth Cannon BL

Irish barrister sharing the history of the Four Courts, Dublin, Ireland, and other Irish courts.

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