English barrister and king's counsel; born in London Nov. 18, 1830. After three years' study at the gymnasium in Frankfort-on-the-Main, he entered as a student at University College, London. Thence he proceeded to Cambridge at a time when it was almost impossible for a Jew to gain admission into the colleges. At length he was received into Magdalen College. In 1852 he was elected president of the Cambridge Union Debating Society. At Cambridge Cohen had a successful career, coming out fifth wrangler in the mathematical tripos; but he was prevented from taking his degree till after the repeal of the Test Act in 1871.
Cohen then read law; and five years after he had been called to the bar, he established for himself a reputation in shipping and insurance cases. Among several important appointments was his selection to represent the interests of England in the famous arbitration case connected with the "Alabama" at Geneva in 1872. Returning to England after the completion of the case, Cohen in 1874 unsuccessfully contested Lewes in the Liberal interest. But in 1880 he was elected for the Southwark division, and shortly afterward was offered a judgeship, which, however, he declined, though later he became a judge of the Cinque Ports. He has been for many years standing counsel for his university. He has often represented foreign governments in disputes before the English law courts, as, for example, the Japanese government in an important case against the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
Cohen has held various important positions in the London Jewish community. For many years he was president of the Board of Deputies, succeeding his uncle, Sir Moses Montefiore; but he resigned the position in 1894. He has been a vice-president of Jews' College, and for many years president of the borough Jewish schools.
- Young Israel, ii., No. 13;
- People of the Period, 1897;
- Jewish Year Book, 1901-2.