Sir John Bayley, 1st Baronet

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Sir John Bayley, 1st Baronet (1763–1841), was an English judge. He was called to the bar in 1792, and was made a judge of the King's Bench in 1808. After sitting in this court for more than twenty-two years, he was at his own request removed to the Court of Exchequer in November 1830. He resigned his seat on the bench in February 1834, and in the following month was created a baronet and admitted to the privy council.


  • Where a man speaks upon a subject of his own accord, he naturally tells the whole of what he knows; but where he is examined on interrogatories formally administered to him, his answers are naturally confined to the particulars to which he is so interrogated; and as the examining party generally knows beforehand the scope of the witness's evidence, he has an opportunity of so shaping his questions as that they may elicit everything in his favour with which the witness is acquainted, and keep back everything of a contrary tendency.
    • Berkeley Peerage Case (1811), 4 Camp. 405.
  • Every object and purpose of justice is effectually answered, and every supposed inconvenience is effectually rebutted by the law as it stands.
    • King v. Woolf (1819), 1 Chit. 423.
  • I cannot properly give advice to anybody. It is very often supposed Judges can give advice, and I therefore take this public opportunity of saying that a Judge cannot do it.
    • Trial of Dewhurst and others (1820), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 607.
  • There may be cases in which there is so much of difficulty in knowing where the law stands that we take time to consider, and sometimes doubt much and sometimes differ among ourselves. But I believe every one of the Judges acts upon the principle that he is before man and God in the discharge of his duty, and acts upon his solemn oath, and declares tbe law not according to any political fancy, or for the purposes of serving one party or serving another, but according to the pure conviction of his own mind without looking to any party.
    • Case of Edmonds and others (1821), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 899.
  • The Court has no fears for the safety of the Christian religion. It does not believe that the rock upon which Christianity stands can ever be shaken.
    • Trial of Mary Ann Carlile (1821), 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 1050.
  • The laws of England will protect the rights of British subjects, and give a remedy for a grievance committed by one British subject upon another, in whatever country that may be done.
    • Forbes v. Cochrane and Cockburn (1824), 2 St. Tr. (N. S.) 159.
  • Taking out a commission of bankruptcy is a well-known mode of recovering a debt.
    • Guthrie v. Fisk (1824), 3 B & C. 183.
  • If a man sustains damage by the wrongful act of another, he is entitled to a remedy, but to give that title two things must concur, damage to himself and a wrong committed by the other. That he has sustained damage is not of itself sufficient.
    • R. v. Commissioners of Pagham (1828), 8 B. & C. 362.
  • It is one of the essential qualities of a Court of justice, that its proceedings should be public, and that all parties who may be desirous of hearing what is going on, if there be room in the place for that purpose,—provided they do not interrupt the proceedings, and provided there is no specific reason why they should be removed,—have a right to be present for the purpose of hearing what is going on.
    • Daubney v. Cooper (1829), 10 B. & C. 240.

Trial of Sir Francis Burdett (King v. Burdett) (1820)[edit]

  • [T]ake it to be the bounden duty of the Judge to lay down the law as it strikes him, and that of the jury to accede to it, unless they have superior knowledge on the subject.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 130.
  • No one can doubt that presumptions may be made in criminal as well as in civil cases. It is constantly the practice to act upon them, and I apprehend that more than one half of the persons convicted of crimes are convicted on presumptive evidence.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 131.
  • The law of England is anxious for the interests of persons against whom charges may be made. If a man commits a crime, there is a legal and constitutional mode by which that crime may be brought into discussion. He is liable to be tried, but though his crime may be as great and as aggravated as possible, he ought to have a full, fair, dispassionate, and temperate investigation of his conduct at the time of trial.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 162.

Trial of Hunt and others (King v. Hunt) (1820)[edit]

  • You may discuss the question of legality on legal grounds, but not by an argumentum ad hominem.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 282.
  • Let no cobler go beyond his last.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 282; invoking Pliny the Elder: "Let the cobler stick to his last".
  • So long as Courts of justice remain Courts of justice there must be decency maintained.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 382.
  • I think the motives of the legislature in passing an Act of Parliament are to be taken to be proper motives.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 312.
  • If a man endeavours to obtain a repeal of those laws, which are conceived to be obnoxious, or the introduction of any laws which he believes to be salutary, if he does that legally, there is no objection to it.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 484.
  • It is of the greatest importance that the administration of justice should not only be free from spot or blame, but that it should be, so far as human infirmity could allow it to become, as free from all suspicion.

King v. Knowles (1820)[edit]

  • Do not open that which is not evidence.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 505.
  • I am obliged to watch as he has no counsel
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 505.
  • By our rules we cannot receive a letter from a friend.
    • 1 St. Tr. (N. S.) 515.

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