He was educated at Kendal Grammar School and Queen"s College, Oxford, and served in the Foreign Office and Ministry of Labour during the First World War.
He was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, in 1920, and was a Tutor at the Law Society"s School of Law from 1920 to 1924, a Lecturer in Commercial Law from 1924 to 1930, Sir Ernest Cassel Professor of Commercial and Industrial Law at the University of London from 1930 to 1946 and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London from 1939 to 1942. During the Second World War Chorley served as a Principal at the Home Office between 1940 and 1941, as Assistant-Secretary to the Minister of Home Security from 1941 to 1942 and as Deputy Regional Commissioner for the Civil Defence (North-West Region) from 1942 to 1944. He stood unsuccessfully as a Labour candidate for Northwich in July 1945, but on 16 November of that year he was raised to the peerage as Baron Chorley, of Kendal in the County of Westmorland.
He then served under Clement Attlee as a Lord-in-Waiting (government whip) in the House of Lords between 1945 and 1950.
He was active in the Association of University Teachers, serving as president in 1947–1948 and as honorary general secretary from 1953 to 1965. Lord Chorley married Katharine, daughter of Edward Hopkinson, in 1925.
Lady Chorley died in 1985.