West, Sir Raymond (1832–1912), Indian civil servant and judge, was born 18 September 1832 at Ballyloughrane, Co. Kerry, son of Frederick Henry West, journalist, and his wife Frances, daughter of Richard Raymond of Ballyloughrane. His father neglected his own career, the family finances suffering accordingly, and as a result of this his mother saw to his education and secured him a scholarship to QCG. Deciding to study law, he proved a brilliant student and won three scholarships during the course of his university career. He was also an exhibitioner and won two gold medals before graduating with a first-class degree in 1855. Following graduation he won a scholarship from the King's Inns in Dublin but decided to postpone studying for the bar and instead successfully completed the entrance examination for the Indian civil service. He was one of the second group of applicants to sit for this examination after the reorganisation of the entrance procedure, and in September 1856 arrived in India. Posted to the southern Maratha country, he began his service as a civil officer during the Indian rebellion of 1857 and took part in operations against Sawant rebels, later being awarded the Mutiny Medal.
He joined the judicial department of the government of Bombay in 1860 and was appointed a recorder of the high court (1863–6). In 1866 he was appointed district judge of Kanara, and also busied himself with writing a study of the Bombay legal code, published as Acts and regulations in force of the legislature in the presidency of Bombay, 1827–1866 (1867–8). He then collaborated with Dr J. G. Bühler to publish Digest of Hindu law (1867–9), a work of great scholarship, providing information on ancient Hindu customs while also indicating possible courses of action in relation to the most common problems dealt with by the courts. Due to his tendency to take on more responsibilities and work, his health tended to suffer, and he was prone to insomnia throughout his life. In 1868 he was appointed judicial commissioner of Sind but, because of overwork, was obliged to go on leave later in the year. Returning to Ireland, he spent his two-year leave (1868–70) studying for an MA degree, while also completing the Irish bar examination. Called to the bar, he returned to India, where he resumed his duties in Sind and worked as a recorder at the high court of Bombay.
In 1873 he was appointed a judge of the high court of Bombay, a position he held until 1886. He also served on the Indian statute law commission at Simla (1879) and played a prominent role in the revision of the law code. In 1884 he went to Egypt and, appointed as procurer-general, oversaw the reorganisation of the judiciary. Appointed as a member of Bombay executive council in 1886, he was made a KCIE. During his time on the executive council, he showed himself to be somewhat cautious and refused to support any legislative reforms that he thought hastily conceived.
Throughout his judicial career, West maintained a connection with Bombay University. He served as the university's vice-chancellor in 1878 and again between 1886 and 1892. A familiar figure in the university, he was known among the students for his helpful and forthright manner. Awarded an honorary degree by the university, he retired in 1892 and published Higher education in India in the same year. He remained active in his final years and served as a lecturer in Indian law at Cambridge University (1895–1907) and as vice-president of the Royal Asiatic Society. He died 8 September 1912 at his home in Upper Norwood, south-east London.
West married first (1867) Clementina Fergusson Chute (d. 1896), the only daughter of William Maunsell Chute of Chute Hall, Co. Kerry; they had a son and three daughters. He married secondly (1901) Annie Kirkpatrick Cook, eldest daughter of Surgeon-gen. Henry Cook of Lydney, Gloucestershire.