Lord Chancellor of New Ingerland

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Lord Chancellor of New Ingerland
The Baroness Fairfax

since 13 March 2012
Style The Right Honourable
Nominator Matthew Jones
Appointer Geoffrey VII
Term length At His Majesty's pleasure
Inaugural The Earl Deveraux
Formation 25 February 1836
Salary £7,539[1] (4th)

The Lord High Chancellor of New Ingerland (commonly known as Lord Chancellor) is a ministerial office responsible for carrying out a number of roles and duties in the Government of New Ingerland.


Function and role

The Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Chancellor's responsibilities are wide-ranging; they include acting as the de jure head of the New Ingerland judiciary, serving as the prolocutor for the Senate, and acting as the custodian of the Privy Seal. There are also a number of smaller roles that the Lord Chancellor may be called upon to perform from time to time. The Lord Chancellor is appointed for the life of the parliament, and may serve indefinitely. The current Lord Chancellor is The Baroness Fairfax.

It should be noted that the Lord Chancellor is not a Minister of State, and therefore does not entitle the incumbent to be a member of the Cabinet of New Ingerland. However, a Lord Chancellor may attend meetings of the Cabinet when matters under his responsibility are on the agenda.

The exact functions and role of the office are as follows:

Head of HM Courts Service

The primary role of the Lord Chancellor is to serve as the head of the judiciary in New Ingerland, where he may sit as a judge in the Judicial Committee of the Executive Council or in the Court of Appeal. In practice however, no Lord Chancellor has sat on either court since the 1940s, and the de facto head of the judiciary is the Chief Justice of New Ingerland. Likewise in the past, the Lord Chancellor was solely responsible for the nomination of prospective judges and magistrates before the Sovereign for his appointment. However, this role has now been placed in commission and is now exercised by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC). The Lord Chancellor remains the chief commissioner of the JAC, where he chairs meetings of the Commission.

Therefore, the only judicial functions remaining to the Lord Chancellor is the administration of His Majesty's Court Service, a sui generis non-ministerial department that is fully independent of the New Ingerland Civil Service. The Courts Service was established in 1963 to facilitate the conduct of the business of the courts of New Ingerland. The Lord Chancellor is the chairman of the service, and chairs the Service's board of governors. The day-to-day administration is delegated to a chief executive, who is appointed by the board on the recommendation of a selection panel.

Prolocutor for the Senate

Another of the Lord Chancellor's major duties is to serve as the prolocutor for the Senate. Whilst technically this is a separate office like that of Keeper, convention has seen that is always vested in the office of Lord Chancellor. As such he sits upon a special chair before the throne known as the woolsack, which is not strictly within the Senate, but like the throne is considered to be outside the Senate. This technicality means there is no obligation for a Lord Chancellor to be a member of the Senate, however no Lord Chancellor has ever been appointed who was not also a senator, senator-elect, or senator-appointee.

In direct contrast to the broad powers of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Lord Chancellor does not have the power to call the Senate to order, determine who is to speak when two individuals rise at the same time, rule on points of order, discipline members who violate the rules of the Senate, or select amendments to bills. Instead, all of these functions are performed by the Senate as a whole. The diminished power of the Lord Chancellor can also be seen when those taking part in debates address the whole House instead of the Lord Chancellor as they would the Speaker of the Assembly. In this way, the Lord Chancellor is seen as a prolocutor, or one who speaks for others[2], rather than a fully independent "speaker".

However, it should be noted that unlike his lower house counterpart, the Lord Chancellor is free to take part in debates, speaking from his place on the government benches in the Senate. He entitled to vote on all debates and motions brought before the Senate, and votes from the woolsack instead of going into the division lobby. This distinction allows the Lord Chancellor to field questions regarding his responsibilities over the judiciary and participate in any debate or motion brought before the Senate that he may his to speak upon[3].

As part of his role as prolocutor for the Senate, the Lord Chancellor is also involved in the State Opening of Parliament, during which the Sovereign delivers the Speech from the Throne, outlining the agenda of the Government for the upcoming parliamentary session.

Keeper of the Privy Seal

The Privy Seal is the instrument by which some the Sovereign's official documents can be authorised without having to be signed personally. Those matters that still require the use of the reserve powers by the Sovereign are not only passed under the Great Seal, but are also passed under the Privy Seal as well. Documents to which the Privy Seal is affixed include the appointment of the President of the Executive Council, and the issuing of writs for general elections.

Custody of the Privy Seal is entrusted to the Lord Chancellor in his role as the Keeper of the Privy Seal[4]. In practice however, the Seal is kept by the Clerk of Privy Seal, who is the personal private secretary to the Lord Chancellor. Both the forms of the Privy Seal are kept in the Lord Chamberlain of the Household's office in Parliament House.

Ecclesiastical functions

By law, the Lord Chancellor must be consulted before appointments may be made to certain ecclesiastical courts. Judges of Consistory Courts and the Chancery Court are appointed only after consultation with the Lord Chancellor.

The Lord Chancellor is the chairman of the Church Estates Trust, who manage the assets of the Ingerian Church of New Ingerland.

Additional roles

There are also a number of other roles which may occupy the Lord Chancellor from time to time.

The Lord Chancellor is also the speaker of any constitutional conventions, which meets to discuss and propose changes to the Constitution of New Ingerland. When a constitutional convention meets, the Lord Chancellor has the power to control debate and call the convention to order. He can also rule on any Standing Orders of the convention and suspend a member who acts in a manner that is deemed to be in breach of the Standing Orders.

The Lord Chancellor is chairman of the Accession Council.

If the Sovereign is determined to be incapacitated, the Lord Chancellor may sit as one of the members of the Steward's Council for the duration of the incapacitation of the Sovereign.

Official dress

The Lord Chancellor, on formal state occasions, wears legal court dress consisting of a black silk velvet cutaway tailcoat with cloth covered buttons, waistcoat and breeches worn with white shirt, lace stock and cuffs, black silk stockings and cut-steel buckled patent court shoes. Over this is worn a black silk damask robe of state with a long train trimmed with gold lace and frogging, with a black silk 'wig bag' attached to the flap collar at the back. A wig is worn and, in the past, a black tricorne hat.

List of Lord Chancellors

The following is a list of people who have served as Lord Chancellor.

# Name
Senate membership
Party affiliation In office Duration
1 The Earl Deveraux
(9 December 1793 – 26 January 1859)
Senator by writ of subscription
Non-partisan 25 February 1836 – 28 April 1852 6 years, 2 months, 3 days
2 The Earl Percy
(4 October 1804 – 23 September 1886)
Senator by writ of subscription
Non-partisan 3 May 1852 – 7 February 1859 6 years, 9 months, 4 days
3 The Lord Montgomery
(21 May 1807 – 19 March 1869)
Senator by writ of subscription
Moderate 7 February 1859 – 6 November 1865 6 years, 8 months, 30 days
4 The Lord Howard
(11 April 1811 – 17 December 1891)
Senator by writ of subscription
Moderate 6 November 1865 – 5 June 1871 5 years, 6 months, 30 days
5 The Viscount Harrington
(3 March 1840 – 3 October 1874)
Senator by appointment
Moderate 5 June 1871 – 3 October 1874[5] 3 years, 3 months, 28 days
6 The Lord Varley
(30 December 1825 – 1 April 1909)
Senator by appointment
Moderate 12 October 1874 – 16 March 1880 5 years, 5 months, 4 days
7 The Lord Burgess
(28 October 1839 – 22 June 1923)
Senator by appointment
Progressive 16 March 1880 – 16 August 1886 6 years, 7 months, 10 days
The Lord Gardener
(24 January 1936 – 5 June 2009)
Senator by appointment
Democratic Party 20 November 1986 – 16 March 1992 5 years, 3 months, 25 days
The Baroness Petersen
(born 8 March 1942)
Senator by appointment
National Party 16 March 1992 – 11 March 1996 3 years, 11 months, 24 days
The Earl Meyer
(16 November 1922 – 19 May 2011)
Senator by appointment
National Party 11 March 1996 – 13 March 2000 4 years, 2 days
The Baroness Foxe
(born 11 September 1944)
Senator by appointment
Democratic Party 13 March 2000 – 15 March 2004 4 years, 2 days
The Lord Newman
(born 30 June 1950)
Senator by appointment
National Party 15 March 2004 – 13 March 2012 7 years, 11 months, 27 days
The Baroness Fairfax
(born 8 September 1952)
Senator by appointment
Democratic Party 13 March 2012 – Present Incumbent

References and notes

  1. The salary of a Lord Chancellor is derived from his position as a member of Parliament and as a holder of a ministerial office. As of the opening of the 56th Parliament, all Senators and MHAs receive a salary of £1,170, plus a £47 per sitting day (not including a per diem amount for expenses). In addition, the Lord Chancellor receives an additional salary of £2,139.
  2. Stevenson, Angus, ed. (2010). Oxford Dictionary of English (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199571123.
  3. Despite the freedom to participate in any debate or motion brought before the Senate, by convention a Lord Chancellor will restrict his participation to such debates and motions as they affect the judiciary and Courts Service in particular.
  4. The Keeper of the Privy Seal is technically a separate office that by convention has been occupied by the Lord Chancellor since the foundation of the former in 1838.
  5. Viscount Harrington died in office.

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