George Jessel (jurist)

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Sir George Jessel.

Sir George Jessel (13 February 182421 March 1883) was a British judge.


  • I never did approve, when at the Bar, and I do not approve now, when on the Bench, of the practice of not deciding a substantial question when it is fairly raised between the parties and argued, simply because it is raised by demurrer. It is a great benefit to all parties to have the question in the case speedily and cheaply determined, and the practice of demurring ought, if possible, to be encouraged.
    • Fothergill v. Rowland (1873), L. R. 17 Eq. Ca. 139.
  • I am not, as I consider, to decide cases in favour of fools or idiots, but in favour of ordinary English people, who understand English when they see it, and are not deceived by any difference in type, but who have before them a very plain statement.
    • Singer Manufacturing Co. v. Wilson (1876) L.R. 2 C.D. 447.
  • It must not be forgotten that the rules of Courts of equity are not, like the rules of the common law, supposed to have been established from time immemorial. It is perfectly well known that they have been established from time to time — altered, improved, and refined from time to time. In many cases we know the names of the Chancellors who invented them.
    • In re Hallett's Estate (1880) 13 Ch.D. 696, 710.
  • Professional advice in England is confined to legal advice.
    • Slade v. Tucker (1880), L. R. 14 C. D. 827.
  • This case reminds me of one in which I likened the plaintiff's case to a colander, because it was so full of holes.
    • Ex Parte Hall (1882) 19 Ch.D. 580, 584.
  • Mistakes are the inevitable lot of mankind.
    • In re Taylor's Estate (1882) 22 Ch.D. 495, 503.
  • I may be wrong, and often am, but I never doubt.
    • To Lord Coleridge, in response to the question, "Have you no doubts about it, Jessel?", asked with regard to Jessel's judgment as to the Alabama claims. When later asked about the truth of the story, Jessel replied, "very likely, but Coleridge with his Constitutional inaccuracy has told it wrong. I can never have said 'often wrong'". Reported in Robert Q. Kelly and Frederic D. Donnelly, The Law Library: Proceedings, Sixth Biennial A.A.L.L. Institute for Law Librarians (1964) p. 51.


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