Maurice Runnels (Dutch) Barnes, 81, a lawyer who practiced radio and television law in Washington from 1936 until he retired in 1978, died of cancer July 1 at his home in Salt Lake City.

Mr. Barnes was born in Kaysville, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah. He received his law degree from George Washington University and later studied communications law at Northwestern University.

He moved to Washington in 1932 and worked for the Treasury Department and the Federal Communications Commission. He then went into private practice and became a senior partner in the firm of Barnes and Neilson. He retired in 1978 and moved to Salt Lake City.

He was on the board of the Barnes Banking Co. in Salt Lake City. He also was a trustee of the Utah Symphony Ballet West and the Utah Opera Company and chairman of the Marriott Libraries at the University of Utah.

Survivors include his wife, Ellen N. Barnes of Salt Lake City; two daughters, Mary Ellen H. Caine and Carolyn Gardner, and two sons, Maurice R. Jr. and David N., all of Salt Lake City; two brothers, Dr. D. Keith of Salt Lake City and S.M. Barnes of Los Angeles; and 24 grandchildren.