Joseph Chitty (the elder)

Joseph Chitty (12 March, 177517 February, 1841) was an English lawyer and legal writer, author of some of the earliest practitioners' texts and founder of an important dynasty of lawyers.

Life and practice

He was himself the son of a Joseph Chitty (1729–1795), and his wife, Sarah "née" Cartwright. He initially practised as a special pleader before being called to the bar by the Middle Temple in 1816. He never became a KC but built a huge junior practice at 1 Pump Court and published many books.Lobban (2004)]

Chitty was also pupil master to a generation of lawyers, including:
*Thomas Starkie;
*Edward Hall Alderson; [Hedley, S. (2004) " [ Alderson, Sir Edward Hall (bap. 1787, d. 1857)] ", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, accessed 22 July 2007 (subscription required)]
*Thomas Noon Talfourd; [ [Anon.] (1911) "Thomas Noon Talfourd" "Encyclopaedia Britannica"] and
*Henry Havelock. [ [Anon.] (1911) "Henry Havelock" "Encyclopaedia Britannica"]

In fact, at the time, the Inns of Court were in decline and Chitty organised lectures and moots, in 1810 being given permission to use the hall of Lincoln's Inn.

Personality and later life

Despite his successful practice, by 1831, Chitty had amassed extensive debts that were costing almost GBP2,000 per year to service. Further, Chitty's health was in decline and he was becoming increasingly anxious about his parlous state. Much of his energy became taken up in avoiding the attentions of his creditors. He retired from practice in 1833 but continued to publish. He died in London.


Chitty married Elizabeth Woodward in 1793 and the couple parented three daughters and five sons, including the lawyers:
*Joseph Chitty;
*Thomas Chitty;
**-whose son Joseph William Chitty became a lawyer and judge;
*Edward Chitty; and
*Tompson Chitty (1815–1863).



By Chitty

*Chitty, T. (1799) "Treatise on Bills of Exchange"
*— (1808) "Precedents of Pleading"
*— (1811a) "Treatise on the Law of Apprentices"
*— (1811b) "Treatise on the Game Laws"
*— (1812) "Treatise on the Law of Nations"
*— (1818) "Treatise on Commercial Law"
*— (1829-37) "Statutes of Practical Utility"
*— (1833) "The Practice of the Law in All its Principal Departments"

About Chitty

*Lobban, M. (2004) " [ Chitty, Joseph, the elder (1775–1841)] ", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, accessed 9 Aug 2007
* cite book | author=Simpson, A. W. B. (ed.) | title=Biographical Dictionary of the Common Law | year=1984 | id=ISBN 040651657X | location=London | publisher=Butterworths

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