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Deas, George (DNB00)

DEAS, Sir GEORGE (1804–1887), Scotch judge, son of Francis Deas of Falkland, Fifeshire, was born in 1804. He acquired the rudiments of knowledge in various schools in Falkland, Milnathort in Kinross, and Perth, and in 1817 entered a writer's office in Perth. Having spent some time there, and also in the office of a writer in Cupar, he came to Edinburgh, where he pursued his legal studies, and also attended various classes at the university, obtaining prizes in logic, metaphysics, moral philosophy, and law. He was called to the Scotch bar in 1828, where he soon acquired considerable practice. In 1840 he received the appointment of advocate depute, an office to which he was reappointed in 1846, and which he held until 1850. He was sheriff of Ross and Cromarty 1850–1, solicitor-general 1851–2, and was created a permanent lord ordinary of the court of session, with the courtesy title of Lord Deas, and a judge of exchequer in May 1853, and a lord commissioner of justiciary in April 1854. He was knighted in 1858. As an advocate he was distinguished rather by strong logical faculty than by eloquence. He proved himself an acute and painstaking judge; and though he was seldom deterred from making a caustic remark by the fear of giving pain, his disposition is said to have been really kindly. He spoke with a broad Scotch accent. Deas married, first, in 1838, Margaret, only daughter of Sylvester Reid, and secondly, in 1857, the widow of Sir Benjamin Fonseca Outram, C.B., M.D. He died on 7 Feb. 1887 at his residence, 32 Heriot Row, Edinburgh.

[Times, 8 Feb. 1887; Journal of Jurisprudence, March 1887; Tennant, Fraser, and Murray's Cases in the Court of Session, 1850–1, ad init., 1852–3 ad init., 1853–4 ad init.; Irving's Dict. of Eminent Scotchmen.]

J. M. R.