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Master lawyer and Labour MP; WEEK6: PUBLIIC SERVANTS In association with Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank.

THE late Lord Shawcross, Labour MP for St Helens from 1945 to 1958, is regarded as one of the 20th century's most brilliant lawyers.

He was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals and, as attorney general, helped send infamous acid-bath murderer John George Haigh to the gallows.

In court, it was said his meticulous manner and slow nasal drawl could put defendants off their guard, while his handling of the most complex cases was described as supremely clinical - chilling, even.

As attorney-general, he prosecuted in a number of celebrated trials, including that of the traitor William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw).

Hartley William Shawcross was educated at Dulwich College, where he preached socialism in the debating society (he joined the Labour Party at the age of 16). After taking a short course at the London School of Economics, he studied at the University of Geneva.

On his return to England, he studied for the Bar at Gray's Inn, winning first-class honours in all his examinations.

His first wife Alberta, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, killed herself to spare him the task of looking after her. His second wife Joan, the mother of his three children, died in 1974 after being kicked by a horse.

From April 1951 until Labour went out of office the following autumn, Lord Shawcross was President of the Board of Trade. At the peak of his legal career in the mid-1950s, he was earning up to pounds 60,000 a year at the Bar, an incredible sum in those days (although much of it disappeared in taxation).

In 1957, he announced he was quitting the Bar and the House of Commons after learning that a law was to be passed revoking the right of barristers to collect unpaid fees when they retired.

Shawcross had jobs with Shell and Ford, became chairman of the Press Council and a takeover panel, and sat on the board of the Times.

He died at home in East Sussex on July 10,2003 at the age of 101, the last surviving member of Clement Attlee's government.


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 23, 2007
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