First name(s)
Position(s) held at King's College London
  • Professor of English Law, 1852-65
  • Emeritus Professor of English Law, 1865-94

Education & professional details

School, college and/or university attended

Rugby School (1830s); Cambridge, Caius and Queens (1839-43); Lincoln’s Inn (1843-46) when called to the bar); Middle Temple.


Hon. LL.D Edinburgh (1856)

Position(s) held (non King's College London)
  • Recorder of Poole;
  • Revising Barrister on the Western Circuit (1861-4);
  • Registrar of the Court of Bankruptcy, Leeds (1864-70);
  • Judge of the County Court at Lincoln (1871-94).
  • Edited his father, H.J.Stephen’s, New Commentaries on the Laws of England (vols. 2—8; 1848-1880); his son, Henry St.James Stephen, helped with editions after 1880;
  • Author of The Common Law: Procedure Act 1860, with notes and Introduction (1860);
  • Questions for law Students with Notes on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th editions of Stephen’s New Commentaries (1853-69).  

Personal details

Date of birth
16 September 1820
Place of birth
Date of death
25 November 1894
Place of death

Law Times, 1 December 1894, p.12.

Family details

Son of Henry John Stephen, Serjeant at Law; married (1850) Caroline Neville Davies, daughter of Henry Davies, Professor of Gynaecology at St George’s Hospital, London; 7 surviving children; eldest son Henry St James Stephen, was a legal writer, barrister and solicitor; two sons were solicitors in Lincoln; two sons were medical practitioners and in the RAMC (1914-18)


The Stephen family included many lawyers, gifted writers of legal treatises, who from the outset supported the abolition of slavery. Like some members of the family James Stephen, avoided publicity; though a good lawyer he did not send his sons to University and his descendants received little note by comparison with their famous cousins.

* References

  • Alumni Cantabrigienses;
  • J Foster, Men at the Bar (1892);
  • F. Boase, Modern English Biography, vol.3, 1901;
  • Paul Mitchell, Law and India at KCL, KC Law Journal, 17 (2006) p. 35.
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