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Sir John Galway Foster QC

Sir John Galway Foster QC

John Foster was a distinguished MP and member of the English Bar. He was educated at New College, Oxford where he achieved a first in 1924. In the same year, he was elected a Fellow of All Souls College. He was called to the Bar in 1927 (Inner Temple) and took silk in 1950. He practised at what is now Blackstone Chambers, specialising in private international law and tax law. He was committed both as parliamentarian and advocate to the protection of human rights in this country and abroad.

In 1939, Foster became first secretary and legal adviser to the British Embassy in Washington and later, in SHAEF, legal adviser to General Dwight Eisenhower. He was awarded the Legion of Honour, American Legion of Merit, and Croix de Guerre (with palms), and played a part in the Nuremburg trials. In 1944 he was accorded the rank of brigadier.

Before the outbreak of World War II, he had a number of appointments including that of secretary to the Thetis enquiry, the budget leak enquiry and the law reform committee. He was a lecturer in private international law in Oxford (1934-9) and at The Hague, and Recorder of Dudley in 1936-8 and of Oxford (1938-51 and 1956-64). He was awarded a KBE in 1964.

Foster was elected a Conservative Member of Parliament for the Northwich division of Cheshire in 1945, a seat he held without interruption until his retirement in 1974. Between 1951 and 1954 he served as Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

He was, with Peter Benenson, co-founder of JUSTICE and served as Vice-Chair and later Chair for many years. He was also active within the Council of Europe in bringing about the European Convention of Human Rights. Throughout his life, he fought tirelessly on behalf of the victims of persecution, for example, working hard with Miriam Rothschild both in securing entry to the UK for German Jews fleeing persecution, after the war, in winning compensation for them and restoring their confiscated property.

He died in 1982 aged 78.

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