Obituary: Sir Edward Singleton

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The Independent Online
Edward Henry Sibbald Singleton, lawyer, born 7 April 1921, solicitor 1949, Partner in Macfarlanes 1954, consultant 1977-86, member Council of the Law Society 1961-80, Vice-President 1973, President 1974, Kt 1975, married 1943 Margaret (Peggy) Hutton (three sons, one daughter), died 6 September 1992.

EDWARD SINGLETON was, when he was elected in 1974, the youngest person ever to be appointed President of the Law Society. His appointment occurred almost exactly 25 years after he became a solicitor. In that office, he showed a steadfastness of purpose and a dedication to advancing the interests of the Law Society, which he did in the most agreeable and pleasant manner.

A nephew of the late Lord Justice Singleton, 'Tim' Singleton showed an early interest in the law. After leaving school at Shrewsbury and obtaining a degree from Brasenose College, Oxford, he was articled with Messrs Sharpe, Pritchard & Co. While waiting for that vacancy to occur, he gained some knowledge of the other side of the legal profession, sitting as a pupil in the chambers of Sir Anthony Hawke.

During the Second World War, he served as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm from 1941 to 1945, seeing action in the Western Desert, Mediterranean and Pacific.

He qualified as a solicitor and was admitted to the roll in July 1949. He then he spent five years with the well-known firm of solicitors Richards Butler & Co, before moving on to the firm of Macfarlanes in 1954.

Tim Singleton was, by nature, a quiet and wholly unaggressive man. His methods were never of the confrontational variety; he preferred to achieve his success by way of compromise between those in dispute, wherever possible, endeavouring, with his natural charm and undoubted integrity, to edge each side nearer to the opposing view until a compact was reached. He was elected as a member of the Council of the Law Society in 1961, from which time these undoubted virtues in his make-up were employed to great effect in the service of the legal profession.

Throughout the years, he served with distinction on a number of committees of the Law Society. Having played cricket for Oxford University, he was, for six years, President of the Law Society's Cricket Club, for whom he played regularly and with great skill. By the time he was appointed president of the society, he was Senior Partner in the firm of Macfarlanes and, shortly after he was appointed, he became a consultant in that firm.

Thereafter he became director and chairman of a number of public companies, including the Abbey National Building Society, and was a member of the Council for the Securities Industry and the White Ensign Association.

Tim Singleton had been ill for some while; an illness which he suffered with the same quiet courage as he had displayed throughout the whole of his life. He was a delightful and steadfast person to have as a friend: always an effective person to have as an ally in any project and one who enjoyed life and was anxious to ensure as much good as could be done for others, not least his colleagues in the legal profession.