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William James Cullen, Lord Cullen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

18 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh
18 Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh

The Hon William James Cullen QC (9 September 1859 – 19 June 1941) was a Scottish judge who rose to be a Senator of the College of Justice.

Early life

Cullen was the son of Thomas Cullen, an inspector of stamps and taxes in Edinburgh.[1] The family lived at 6 Waterloo Place at the east end of Princes Street.[2]

He was educated at Edinburgh Collegiate School and at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated with an MA in 1880[3] and an LLB in 1883.[4]


The grave of William James Cullen, Lord Cullen, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh
The grave of William James Cullen, Lord Cullen, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh

In 1884, Cullen joined the company of J & F Adam[1] as a writer to the signet,[3] a specialist form of solicitor. He switched to the other branch of the legal profession, and was admitted as an advocate in 1891.[3] He built his reputation specialising in the law of conveyancing, land and inheritance,[1] and took silk in 1905.[5]

From 1905 to 1906, Cullen worked as an advocate depute, a junior prosecutor.[3] In July 1906, he was appointed as Sheriff of Fife and Kinross, replacing the deceased Robert Younger KC.[6] In April 1907 he became an unpaid Commissioner For Lunacy,[7] and in 1909 he was raised to the bench as a Senator of the College of Justice with the judicial title of Lord Cullen,[3] filling the vacancy caused the resignation of Lord Pearson.[8]

An unflamboyant judge who disliked public speaking and avoided ceremonies where possible,[1] Cullen was promoted in 1918 to the Inner House, where he sat in the Valuation Appeal Court.[1] He resigned from the court in 1925, and his seat was given to David Fleming KC, who became Lord Fleming.[9]

Personal life

In 1888, Cullen married Grace Rutherfurd Clark (1864-1943), from Manchester.[3] They had one daughter, and two sons:[1] Keith Douglas Cullen (born 1889), who became an advocate in 1919;[10] and William Geoffrey Langley Cullen (1894-1915) who died whilst serving as a second lieutenant in the Royal Scots during the First World War.[11]

He died at his home 18 Grosvenor Crescent[12] in Edinburgh on 19 June 1941, aged 81.[1]

He is buried in Dean Cemetery in western Edinburgh beneath a simple white cross in the south-west section (to the north of the huge Buchanan monument).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Obituaries". The Times (48958). London. 21 June 1941. p. 6. Retrieved 10 January 2011 – via The Times Digital Archive.
  2. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1859
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hesilridge, Arthur G. M. (ed.). Debrett's House of Commons and the Judicial Bench. London: Dean & Son. p. 353. Retrieved 9 January 2011 – via
  4. ^ "University Intelligence". The Times (30888). London. 2 August 1883. p. 8. Retrieved 9 January 2011 – via The Times Digital Archive.
  5. ^ "No. 11778". The Edinburgh Gazette. 17 November 1905. p. 1117.
  6. ^ "No. 11846". The Edinburgh Gazette. 13 July 1906. p. 750.
  7. ^ "No. 28010". The London Gazette. 5 April 1907. p. 2330.
  8. ^ "No. 12161". The Edinburgh Gazette. 20 July 1909. p. 785.
  9. ^ "No. 14193". The Edinburgh Gazette. 1 January 1926. p. 1.
  10. ^ Grant, Sir Francis James (1944). The Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, 1532–1943: With Genealogical Notes. Edinburgh: Scottish Record Society. p. 47. Retrieved 9 January 2011 – via Google Snippet view. Cullen, Keith Douglas MA LLB. 14 Mar 1919. Son of William James Cullen, born 26 June 1889
  11. ^
  12. ^ Edinburgh Post Office Directory 1910-11
This page was last edited on 21 September 2021, at 11:12
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