“Charles Darling was known for his erudition and at times inappropriate wit, both on and off the bench, as well as for being impeccably dressed and wearing a silk top hat whilst riding to Court on a horse and accompanied by a liveried groom…” Source: Wikipedia
Source: p. 26-34, “A Short Book of Bad Judges” by Graeme Williams QC
“….no book of Bad Judges would be worthy of its name if it did not include Charles Darling in a fairly prominent place…” (Graeme Williams QC)
Born in 1849 and home schooled until he received an inheritance from an uncle which allowed him to article with a firm of solicitors in Birmingham.
Darling decided to go to the Bar and in 1874 he was called by the Inner Temple. He never had any significant practice.
In 1888, Darling earned the gratitude of the Conservative Party at a General Election by winning the unpromising seat at Deptford in the South London docks area and holding it until 1897.
Darling took silk in 1885.
In 1897, Lord Chancellor Halsbury proposed Darling’s appointment to the High Court Bench. The Press immediately connected the judicial appointments “contested elections and general service as a political hack”.
In March 1900, it was printed in the newspaper:
“…There is not a journalist in Birmingham who has anything to learn from the impudent little man in horsehair, a microcosm of conceit and empty-headedness. One is almost sorry that the Lord Chancellor had not another relative to provide for on the day he selected a new judge from among the Larrikins of the law….”
The Editor a Mr Gray was prosecuted for Contempt of Court and fined £100 plus costs of £25.
“Worth every penny, old or new.” (Graeme Williams QC)
Presided uneventfully over cases, ended some judgment with quotations in French from Montesquieu to show his pretentiousness and passed a sensational sentence of imprisonment on a Lady.
In November 1923, he retired from the High Court Bench with a ceremony.
In January 1924, he was granted a peerge with the title Baron Darling of Langham, never having sat in the Court of Appeal.
He sat in the House of Lords after 26 years of service in the King’s Bench Division.
Darling was not “”a Law Lord” that is a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary; but simply granted a peerage ‘for good service’, which,…..he had not given.”
Darling provided long service filled with “lingering political favourism”.
Darling was not of “the intellectual, or indeed of the judicial, calibre, which might have justified his ‘double’ promotion.
Darling was a generous benefactor of the Inner Tample. He gifted four paintings from 1460 who are brought out by the Inn only at the most festive occasions.
Darling retired in 1930 and died in 1936.
He was notoriously a very Bad Judge.