Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Will, John Shiress

WILL, JOHN SHIRESS (1840–1910), legal writer, born in Dundee in 1840, only son of John Will, merchant, of Dundee, but described at the date of his son's admission to the Middle Temple—30 Oct. 1861—as ‘of the parish of Hanover, co. Cornwall, Jamaica,’ by his wife Mary, daughter of John Chambers. Educated first at Brechin grammar school, and afterwards at University College and King's College, London, Will was called to the bar by the Middle Temple on 6 June 1864, and obtained a large parliamentary practice, taking silk in 1883 and being made a bencher of his inn on 24 Jan. 1888. He discontinued his parliamentary practice in 1885 upon his election as liberal member for Montrose burghs, for which he was re-elected in 1886, in 1892, and in August 1895. He resigned the seat early in 1896, when Mr. John (afterwards Viscount) Morley, who had been recently defeated at Newcastle, was elected in his stead. Will then resumed his practice, becoming the principal authority on the law relating to lighting either by gas or electricity. He received tardy recognition of his ability and services by appointment in September 1906 as judge of the county court district (No. 7) of Liverpool. He died at Liverpool on 24 May 1910. He married in 1873 Mary Anne (d. 1912), daughter of William Shiress, solicitor, of Brechin, Forfarshire.

Will was author of: 1. ‘The Practice of the Referees Courts in Parliament in regard to Engineering Details … and Estimates and Water and Gas Bills,’ 1866. 2. ‘Changes in the Jurisdiction and Practice of the County Courts and Superior Courts effected by the County Courts Act, 1867, with notes,’ 1868. 3. ‘The Law relating to Electric Lighting,’ 1898; 3rd edit. 1903. He was joint author with W. H. Michael, a brother bencher of the Middle Temple, of a treatise on the law relating to gas and water, 1872, 5th edit. 1901, and was solely responsible for the later editions. He was also responsible for the fifth and sixth editions of ‘Wharton's Law Lexicon’ (1872, 1876).

[The Times, 25 May 1910, 16 Feb. 1912; Who's Who, 1909; Foster, Men at the Bar; Dod's Parl. Companion, 1895, N.P.; Law List, 1908; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

C. E. A. B.