Louis Arnold Abraham CB CBE (1893-1983)
President, Cambridge University Liberal Club, Michaelmas 1915 (one-year term of office cut short by war service)
President, Cambridge Union Society, Michaelmas 1920
Louis Abraham was born in Ireland on 26 November 1893.
From his 1983 obituary in The Times:
“Mr. Louis Abraham CB CBE, who died on January 31 at the age of 89, was a brilliant parliamentary scholar who had been Principal Clerk of Committees from 1952 to 1958. In a career at the House of Commons which had begun with his appointment as an Assistant Clerk in 1920 he had been Clerk of Private Bills from 1945 to 1952 and Examiner of Petitions for Private Bill and Taxing Officer from 1946 to 1952.
“He was also a very real link with the past. His father, William Abraham, was Member of Parliament for a succession of seats in Ireland for thirty years…
“[Louis Abraham] obtained a brilliant degree in history at Cambridge and was in the same year president of the Union. Sir Courtenay Ilbert appointed him to an Assistant Clerkship in 1920. After his appointment he studied law in his spare time and was called to the bar in 1928.
“By the outbreak of the second World War in 1939 he was already known for his extraordinary breadth of knowledge of parliamentary law and precedent, and had in fact drafted the chapter on Parliament for the edition of Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice which eventually appeared in 1946.
“He was an unrivalled authority on the law of Privilege, but he was was assiduous in his reading of the Law Reports and was no less remarkable for his grasp of the general law and constitution…
“The Memorandum on Parliamentary Privilege which he submitted to the Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege in 1966…[was praised by Quintin Hogg as] ‘one of the most distinguished pieces of work I have read for some time.’…
“He was appointed CBE in 1950 and CB in 1956. His witty and loyal wife, Irene, died a few years before him .”
His entry in Who’s Who listed his publications as follows:
- (with C.S. Hawtrey) A Parliamentary Dictionary, 1956
- (ed.) Palgrave’s Chairman’s Handbook, 1964
- ‘Defamation as contempt of Parliament’, in Wicked, Wicked Libels, 1972
Sources: The Times, 4 February 1983; Who Was Who, 1981-90