The Lord Morris
|Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland|
|Preceded by||George Augustus Chichester May|
|Succeeded by||Peter O'Brien|
|Born||14 November 1826|
Galway, County Galway
|Died||8 September 1901 (aged 74)|
Spiddal, County Galway
|Alma mater||Trinity College Dublin|
Michael Morris, Baron Morris and 1st Baron Killanin,(14 November 1826 – 8 September 1901), known as Sir Michael Morris, Bt, from 1885 to 1889, was an Irish lawyer and judge. He was Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland from 1887 to 1889 and sat in the House of Lords as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary from 1889 to 1900.
Born in Galway, eldest son of Martin Morris and Julia Blake, Morris was educated at Galway College and Trinity College Dublin, graduating BA in 1847. His father was a justice of the peace, and in 1841 became the first Roman Catholic to be High Sheriff of Galway Town, an office his son also held. The Morrises were a long established merchant family, who were one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway who dominated the town's commercial life. His mother, a doctor's daughter, died of cholera in 1837.
After being called to the Irish bar in 1849, Morris was appointed High Sheriff of Galway Town for 1849–50. Eight years later he was made Recorder of Galway, and in 1863 became one of the country's Queen's Counsels. He was the recognized leader of the Connacht Bar, impressing clients and juries alike with his wit and commonsense. Elected to Parliament in 1865 as Liberal member for Galway, Morris became a Conservative the following year when he took office in Lord Derby's administration as Solicitor-General for Ireland. Though a Roman Catholic he was a staunch supporter of the Act of Union 1800, but it is said that he was not enthusiastic about the Reform Act 1867. In late 1866 he was appointed Attorney-General for Ireland, and the following year became third Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, eventually being made its Chief Justice in 1876. As a judge he showed the same wit and commonsense which had been his hallmarks at the Bar, and was notably impatient of legal technicalities.
In 1885, Morris was created a Baronet, of Spiddal in the County of Galway, and two years later he was appointed Lord Chief Justice of the King's Bench for Ireland. In 1889, on being made a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, he was given a life peerage as Baron Morris, of Spiddal in the County of Galway, and sworn a member of the Privy Council. He was well regarded by his fellow Law Lords, despite his frequent dissenting judgments.
Eleven years later, on his retirement from office, Lord Morris was made an hereditary peer as Baron Killanin, of Galway in the County of Galway.
Lord Morris died at Spiddal in September 1901, aged 74, and was buried at Galway.
He married, in 1860, Anna Hughes, daughter of Henry George Hughes, Baron of the Court of Exchequer and his wife Sarah Isabella l'Estrange. They had four sons and six daughters. The eldest son Martin Morris was an MP and succeeded in the barony of Killanin and baronetcy.
Another son was Lt. Col. George Henry Morris, who was the first commanding officer to lead an Irish Guards battalion into battle and was killed in action during the Retreat from Mons in September 1914. George's son Michael went on to serve as the sixth President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from 1972 to 1980. He succeeded his uncle Martin as Baron Killanin in 1927.
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