West was born in Middlesex on 1 March 1782, and died in Poona, India, on 18 April 1828. Two of his ancestors were admirals in the British Navy and his father, Balchen West, was receiver-general for Hertfordshire. After his father's early death he was left under the guardianship of his uncle, Sir Martin Browne ffolkes, of Hillington Hall in Norfolk. In 1800 West went up from Harrow School to University College, Oxford, where he studied classics, law and mathematics, in which he received additional private instruction from Mr Friend in London. In 1804 he graduated with high honours, obtained an MA in 1807, and was elected a fellow of University College in the same year. West was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1814, and began practising as a barrister in chambers at Hare Court until 1822.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.