20 Facts About Hartley Shawcross


Hartley Shawcross served as Britain's principal delegate to the United Nations immediately after the Second World War and as Attorney General for England and Wales.


Hartley William Shawcross was born in Giessen, Germany, elder son of British parents, John Shawcross, MA and Hilda Constance, daughter of G Asser.


Hartley Shawcross's younger brother, Christopher, was a barrister and Labour party politician.


Hartley Shawcross joined the Labour Party and was Member of Parliament for St Helens, Lancashire from 1945 to 1958, being appointed to be Attorney General in 1945 until 1951.


In 1946, when debating the repeal of laws against trade unions in the House of Commons, Hartley Shawcross allegedly said "We are the masters now", a phrase that came to haunt him.


Hartley Shawcross was knighted in 1945 upon his appointment as Attorney-General and named Chief Prosecutor for the United Kingdom at the Nuremberg Trials.


Hartley Shawcross avoided the crusading style of American, Soviet, and French prosecutors.


Hartley Shawcross focused on the rule of law and demonstrated that the laws that the defendants had broken, expressed in international treaties and agreements, were those to which prewar Germany had been a party.


Hartley Shawcross used the same argument in respect of millions of other people "annihilated in the gas chambers or by shooting" and maintained that each of the 22 defendants was a party to "common murder in its most ruthless forms".


Hartley Shawcross lent his name to a Parliamentary principle, in a defence of his conduct regarding an illegal strike, that the Attorney-General "is not to be put, and is not put, under pressure by his colleagues in the matter" of whether or not to establish criminal proceedings.


Hartley Shawcross ended his law career in 1951, the same year as the defeat of the second Attlee ministry.


Hartley Shawcross was expected to become a Conservative, earning him the nickname "Sir Shortly Floorcross", but instead he remained true to his Labour roots.


Hartley Shawcross resigned from Parliament in 1958, saying he was tired of party politics.


Hartley Shawcross was made one of Britain's first life peers on 14 February 1959 as Baron Hartley Shawcross, of Friston in the County of Sussex, and sat in the House of Lords as a crossbencher.


Hartley Shawcross resigned on being appointed chairman of the Press Council in 1974.


In 1983, Hartley Shawcross chaired a Tribunal of Enquiry to handle a protest over the outcome of the 1983 British Saloon Car Championship.


From 1965 to 1985 Hartley Shawcross was Chancellor of the University of Sussex.


Hartley Shawcross had served as chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce's Commission on Unethical Practices and of Morgan Guaranty Trust Company's Internal Advisory Council.


Hartley Shawcross was a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club.


Lord Hartley Shawcross died on 10 July 2003 at home at Cowbeech, East Sussex, at the age of 101 and is buried in the churchyard at Jevington in Sussex.