LYNSKEY,  George Justin  [1888 - 1957]

Born in Knotty Ash on 5th February 1888, the son of a solicitor, George Justin Lynskey followed his father into the legal profession. In 1944, against the grain for the times, he was appointed a High Court judge despite his redbrick university background and a practice which was wholly provincial. Moreover, he was the first Catholic to be appointed  to the High Court since the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829.

His father, George Jeremy Lynskey, had been born in Tuam on the west coast of Ireland and after qualification at London University he came to Liverpool and set up practice as a solicitor in Lord Street. He also played an active role in local politics, elected to the city council as the Irish Nationalist candidate for North Scotland Ward, later becoming an alderman. At the time of George Jnr’s birth the family home was at 36 Thomas Lane L14, but by the turn of the century they had moved to Ashgrove, 2 Seymour Road L14 in Broadgreen.

After attending St Francis Xavier’s College George Jnr.  won a scholarship to Liverpool University, graduating LL.B in 1907. On becoming a solicitor in 1909 he joined his father’s practice and remained there for ten years. In 1913 he married Eileen Prendiville and moved to a home on the Wirral, where he would remain for some years until moving to Weybridge, Surrey.

Called to the bar he built up one of the largest practices of his day. At a time when a High Court Judge earned £5000 pa Lynskey was reputed to be earning £20,000 at the bar. Knighted when he was elevated to the High Court he gained some national prominence in 1948 when the Home Secretary, Chuter Ede, appointed him Chairman of a Board of Trade Inquiry into allegations that Ministers and Civil servants had received payments in connection with the granting of licences. He conducted the inquiry with fairness and thoroughness and upon its completion the Government decided to take no action.

Outside of the legal world he was an avowed fan of the Liverpool comedian Tommy Handley and a supporter of Everton F.C. His Catholicism was a central tenet of his life and he was unwilling to take divorce cases.

In December 1957 he was taken ill at Manchester assizes with a coronary thrombosis and died a short while later at Manchester Royal Infirmary on 21st December.

36 Thomas Lane L14

The Lynskey home at the time of George Justin's birth

2 Seymour Road L14

The box designed by Adshead and Stanley Churchill Ramsey given to servicemen at Christmas 1914 by Princess Mary

Lynskey with fellow judges 1950.


There is a comprehensive entry for George Lynskey in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Wikipedia entry is quite thin. There is an interesting article on Lynskey by Graeme Bryson in the book A Century of Liverpool Lawyers [Liverpool Law Society 2002].