Black, Arthur (1888–1968), politician and lord justice of appeal in Northern Ireland, was born 6 February 1888 in Belfast, only son of Arthur Black, national school teacher, and Mary Black (née Guy). He began his education in Mountpottinger School, Belfast, where his father was principal, before spending seven years at Campbell College, Belfast. An excellent student, he attended Cambridge University with an open classical scholarship at Sidney Sussex College. He graduated BA in 1910, with a double first in the classics and law, LLB in 1911, and MA in 1913, when he also secured the respected Whewell scholarship in international law. Black was called to the Irish bar in 1915 and built up a successful practice on the north-eastern circuit. He was an original member of the Northern Ireland bar, which was founded in 1922.
As standing counsel for Belfast corporation, Black gained a reputation as an outstanding lawyer before he became a KC in 1929. Black's expertise lay in chancery law. In 1932 he was elected a bencher of the inn of court of Northern Ireland. Appointed attorney general in Northern Ireland in 1939, he resigned in 1942 to become recorder of Belfast, an honour he greatly prized; in November of the following year he was appointed a judge of the chancery division, a position he held until his appointment in March 1949 as a lord justice of appeal; he retired from the bench in August 1964. In his memoirs J. C. MacDermott (qv), a fellow lord justice of appeal, referred to Black as ‘by nature a shy, unsophisticated man, something of a recluse’ (J. C. MacDermott, An enriching life, 167).
An ardent unionist and a member of the Orange Order, Black was elected in 1925 to the Northern Ireland parliament as one of four members for South Belfast. On the redrawing of constituencies in 1929 he was returned for Willowfield, and was elected again in 1933 and in 1938. A keen interest in education led to his appointment as chairman of a committee (the Black committee) in 1945 to assess the salaries and conditions of service of teachers, and in 1949 he was appointed chairman of the Advisory Council for Education. Black was also first chairman of the committee on supreme court administration which reported in 1957. He was unmarried, and died 15 April 1968.