He entered University College London in 1857 to read law and was called to the bar in 1862. By 1862 he was a Fellow of University College London, a Queen's Counsel, Bencher of Lincoln"s Inn and Chairman of the General Council of the Bar. From 1885 to 1889 he was also the Liberal Member of Parliament for North Norfolk, resigning his seat on his appointment to the Bench.
Knighted in 1889 he was firstly a Judge of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice.
In November 1901 he was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and a Privy Councillor. He served seven years as Master of the Rolls, simultaneously serving as Chairman of the Historical Manuscripts Commission.
He was created Baron Cozens-Hardy, of Letheringsett, on 1 July 1914. Retiring in 1918, he died less than two years later in 1920 aged 81.
He is the subject of a poem (Lord Cozens Hardy, without the hyphen) by John Betjeman.
Baron Cozens-Hardy is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.
23rd United Kingdom Parliament. 24th United Kingdom Parliament. 25th United Kingdom Parliament.
26th United Kingdom Parliament.