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Lord Chancellor in United Kingdom

Note: For information about Chancellor in general, click here.

The Lord Chancellor is the minister responsible to Parliament for courts, tribunals and the justice system. He has a statutory duty to uphold the continued independence of the judiciary. His statutory responsibilities include ensuring that there is an efficient and effective system to support the business of the courts and tribunals, resourcing the system adequately, and ensuring that the judiciary is supported in undertaking its function to deliver justice independently (Section 1 Courts Act 2003, section 39 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007).

Lord Chancellor and the HM Courts and Tribunals Service

The HM Courts and Tribunals Service (an agency of the Ministry of Justice) operates on the basis of a partnership between the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice will not intervene (whether directly or indirectly) in the day-to-day operations of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service and have placed the responsibility for overseeing the leadership and direction of HM Courts and Tribunals Service in the hands of its Board. The Chief Executive is responsible for the day-today operations and administration of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

All staff of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service have a joint responsibility to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice for the effective, efficient and speedy operation of the courts and tribunals. Staff of the HM Courts and Tribunals Service have a responsibility both to the Lord Chancellor and to the Lord Chief Justice to ensure that any advice they give is high-quality, impartial, transparent and honest.

Lord Chancellor in North Ireland

The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain (“Lord Chancellor”) is a Cabinet minister and currently a Member of the House of Commons.

Recent reforms including the creation of the Ministry of Justice and the election of a Lord Speaker for the House of Lords have significantly altered the role of Lord Chancellor. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for courts, prisons, probation and constitutional affairs.

Lord Chancellor History

Appointed by the Sovereign on the Prime Minister’s advice and custodian of the Great Seal. A Cabinet member, holding responsibility for the efficient functioning and independence of the Courts. Until 2005 was the presiding officer of the House of Lords and head of the judiciary.

Constitutional Reform Act of 2005

The following commentary about Lord Chancellor in the Churchill Era is produced by the Churchill College (Cambridge): Officer of the Crown and member of the Cabinet, with responsibility for the running of the courts. Until the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005 was also the presiding officer of the House of Lords, and head of the judiciary in England and Wales.

Efficient functioning and independence of the courts

Before 2005 the Lord Chancellor was the presiding officer of the House of Lords and the head of the judiciary in England and Wales. Following the 2005 act these roles transferred to other members of government. The current definition of the role would be that the Lord Chancellor is ‘responsible for the efficient functioning and independence of the courts’. Lord Mackay was appointed as Lord Chancellor during Thatcher’s administration and read the cabinet’s tribute for her. He was reappointed by John Major.

Lord Chancellor Meaning, as used in the UK Parliament

The Lord Chancellor is one of the most ancient offices of state, dating back many centuries. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and is a senior member of the Cabinet. They head the Ministry of Justice as the Secretary of State for Justice. Previously the Lord Chancellor also acted as Speaker of the House of Lords and therefore sat on the Woolsack. The Lord Chancellor was also head of the judiciary and the senior judge of the House of Lords in its judicial capacity. However, under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Lord Chancellor ceased to be the Speaker of the Lords, and was replaced by the Lord Speaker. In addition, the Lord Chief Justice is now head of the judiciary, and the Lord Chancellor may no longer sit as a judge.

Resources

See Also

  • Lord Chief Justice
  • Lord Speaker
  • HM Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Chancellor of the High Court
  • Appointment of Judges
  • First Lord of the Admiralty
  • HM Courts and Tribunals Service Chief Executive
  • Lord Privy Seal
  • Lord Speaker
  • Lord President of the Council
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Lord of Parliament
  • First Sea Lord
  • Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Lord Great Chamberlain
  • HM Courts and Tribunals Service
  • Appointment of Judges
  • Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Lord Advocate
  • Leader of the House
  • Clerk of the Parliaments
  • Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Deputy Speakers
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Leader of the House of Lords
  • Recall of Parliament

Further Reading

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Legal Citations Generator

(2016, 03). Lord Chancellor lawi.org.uk Retrieved 01, 2021, from https://lawi.org.uk/lord-chancellor/

03 2016. 01 2021 <https://lawi.org.uk/lord-chancellor/>

"Lord Chancellor" lawi.org.uk. lawi.org.uk, 03 2016. Web. 01 2021. <https://lawi.org.uk/lord-chancellor/>

"Lord Chancellor" lawi.org.uk. 03, 2016. Accesed 01 2021. https://lawi.org.uk/lord-chancellor/

Asa Briggs, 'Lord Chancellor' (lawi.org.uk 2016) <https://lawi.org.uk/lord-chancellor/> accesed 2021 January 18

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  • Article Name: Lord Chancellor
  • Author: Asa Briggs
  • Description: Note: For information about Chancellor in general, click here. The Lord Chancellor is the minister responsible to [...]

This entry was last updated: November 24, 2016


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