|Her Majesty's High Court of Chivalry|
Courtroom in October 2017
|Composition method||Appointed by Earl Marshal|
|Appeals to||Judicial Committee of the Privy Council|
|Judge term length||One hereditary, otherwise depends on the appointment|
|Currently||Duke of Norfolk|
|Since||1672 (current office granted by Letters Patent)|
Her Majesty's High Court of Chivalry is a civil law (i.e., non common law) court in English and Welsh law with jurisdiction over matters of heraldry. The court has been in existence since the fourteenth century; however, it rarely sits.The sole judge is now the hereditary Earl Marshal of England, the Duke of Norfolk, though if not a professional lawyer, he normally appoints a professional lawyer as his lieutenant or surrogate.
In Scotland, these types of cases are heard in the Court of the Lord Lyon, which is a standing civil and criminal court, with its own judge – the Lord Lyon King of Arms and its own procurator fiscal (public prosecutor) under the Scottish legal system.
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The court was historically known as the Curia Militaris, the Court of the Constable and the Marshal, or the Earl Marshal's Court.
Since it was created in the fourteenth century the court has always sat when required, except for the short time between 1634 and its temporary abolition by the Long Parliament in 1640 when it sat on a regular basis. During this time the court heard well over a thousand cases, of which evidence survives from 738 cases.
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The court was last convened in 1954for the case of Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties Ltd; prior to this, the Court had not sat for two centuries and before hearing the case, the Court first had to rule whether it still existed. The proceedings opened with the reading of various letters patents in order to make clear that the Duke of Norfolk was indeed Hereditary Earl Marshal and that he had appointed Lord Goddard, who was the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, as his lieutenant in the court. It also had ruled that the Earl Marshal was allowed to sit in judgement without the Lord High Constable of England, an office which until 1521 was also held as a hereditary dignity by the Dukes of Buckingham. The case itself was that the Palace theatre had been displaying the arms of the Manchester Corporation (now Manchester City Council) both inside and on its seal and this usage implied that it was linked with the city's council. The Corporation had requested that the theatre stop using it, but this request had been refused. The court ruled in favour of the Corporation.
In 1832, the Privy Council Appeals Act 1832 made the Privy Council the appeal court for cases heard by the High Court of Chivalry.From 1 February 1833, following the passage of the Judicial Committee Act 1833, appeals have been heard directly by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Prior to that, and in common with the admiralty and ecclesiastical courts, appeals from the Court of Chivalry were made to the Crown in Chancery, with appeals being heard by Commissioners appointed by letters patent under the Great Seal in each case. Sittings by these Commissioners became known as the High Court of Delegates by the time of the 1832 Act.
Historically the court had two hereditary judges – the Duke of Norfolk as Earl Marshal of England, and the Duke of Buckingham as Lord High Constable of England – but in 1521 Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham was convicted of treason, stripped of his titles and offices, and executed. Since then the office of Lord High Constable of England has only been appointed to perform ceremonial duties during a Coronationand there has only been the Earl Marshal acting as the sole judge.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories, some Commonwealth countries and a few UK bodies. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals formerly heard by the King-in-Council, the Privy Council formerly acted as the court of last resort for the entire British Empire, and continues to act as the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth nations, the Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories.
The peerage in the United Kingdom is a legal system comprising both hereditary and lifetime titles, composed of various noble ranks, and forming a constituent part of the British honours system. The term peerage can be used both collectively to refer to the entire body of nobles, and individually to refer to a specific title. British peerage title holders are termed peers of the Realm. The peerage's fundamental roles are ones of government, peers being eligible to a seat in the House of Lords, and of meritocracy, the receiving of any peerage being the highest of British honours.
While the House of Lords of the United Kingdom is the upper chamber of Parliament and has government ministers, it for many centuries had a judicial function. It functioned as a court of first instance for the trials of peers, for impeachments, and as a court of last resort in the United Kingdom and prior, the Kingdom of England.
Earl Marshal is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England. He is the eighth of the Great Officers of State in the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Constable and above the Lord High Admiral. A Duke of Norfolk has held the office since 1672.
The order of precedence in the United Kingdom is the sequential hierarchy for Peers of the Realm, officers of state, senior members of the clergy, holders of the various Orders of Chivalry and other persons in the three legal jurisdictions within the United Kingdom:
The Lord High Constable of England is the seventh of the Great Officers of State, ranking beneath the Lord Great Chamberlain and above the Earl Marshal. His office is now called out of abeyance only for coronations. The Lord High Constable was originally the commander of the royal armies and the Master of the Horse. He was also, in conjunction with the Earl Marshal, president of the court of chivalry or court of honour. In feudal times, martial law was administered in the court of the Lord High Constable.
The following is the order of precedence in England and Wales as of January 2021. Separate orders exist for gentlemen and ladies.
The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is the Head of the Judiciary of England and Wales and the President of the Courts of England and Wales.
The Right Honourable the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottish official with responsibility for regulating heraldry in that country, issuing new grants of arms, and serving as the judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the oldest heraldic court in the world that is still in daily operation.
The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom, the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.
In the United Kingdom, the Great Officers of State are traditional ministers of The Crown who either inherit their positions or are appointed to exercise certain largely ceremonial functions or to operate as members of the government. Separate Great Officers of State exist for England and for Scotland, as well as formerly for Ireland. Many of the Great Officers became largely ceremonial because historically they were so influential that their powers had to be resumed by The Crown or dissipated.
The House of Howard is an English noble house founded by John Howard, who was created Duke of Norfolk by King Richard III of England in 1483. However, John was also the eldest grandson of the 1st Duke of the first creation. The Howards have been part of the peerage since the 15th century and remain both the Premier Dukes and Earls of the Realm in the Peerage of England, acting as Earl Marshal of England. After the English Reformation, many Howards remained steadfast in their Catholic faith as the most high-profile recusant family; two members, Philip Howard, 13th Earl of Arundel, and William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford, are regarded as martyrs: a saint and a blessed respectively.
Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk,, styled Earl of Arundel between 1975 and 2002, is a British peer who holds the office of Earl Marshal. As Duke of Norfolk, he is the most senior lay peer in the peerage of England.
The Lord High Constable is a hereditary, now ceremonial, office of Scotland. In the order of precedence of Scotland, the office traditionally ranks above all titles except those of the Royal Family. The Lord High Constable was, after the King of Scots, the supreme officer of the Scottish army. He also performed judicial functions as the chief judge of the High Court of Constabulary. From the late 13th Century the Court – presided over by the Lord High Constable or his deputies – was empowered to judge all cases of rioting, disorder, bloodshed and murder if such crimes occurred within four miles of the King, the King's Council, or the Parliament of Scotland. Following James VI's move to England, the jurisdiction of the Lord High Constable was defined in terms of the "resident place" appointed for the Council.
The courts of Scotland are responsible for administration of justice in Scotland, under statutory, common law and equitable provisions within Scots law. The courts are presided over by the judiciary of Scotland, who are the various judicial office holders responsible for issuing judgments, ensuring fair trials, and deciding on sentencing. The Court of Session is the supreme civil court of Scotland, subject to appeals to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and the High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court, which is only subject to the authority of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on devolution issues and human rights compatibility issues.
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population, including disputes relating to devolution.
The law of heraldic arms governs the "bearing of arms", that is, the possession, use or display of arms, also called coats of arms, coat armour or armorial bearings. Although it is believed that the original function of coats of arms was to enable knights to identify each other on the battlefield, they soon acquired wider, more decorative uses. They are still widely used today by countries, public and private institutions and by individuals. The earliest writer on the law of arms was Bartolus de Saxoferrato. The officials who administer these matters are called pursuivants, heralds, or kings of arms. The law of arms is part of the law in countries which regulate heraldry, although not part of common law in England and in countries whose laws derive from English law.
The lowest courts in the Isle of Man are the summary courts, Coroner of Inquests, Licensing Court, Land Court, etc. These courts are presided over by magistrates. There are two stipendiary magistrates, the High Bailiff and the Deputy High Bailiff, along with lay justices of the peace.
Scrope v Grosvenor (1389) was one of the earliest heraldic law of arms cases brought in England. The case resulted from two different families found using the same undifferenced coat of arms. By the 12th and 13th centuries, the composition of coats of arms consisted of only one charge and two tinctures. However, this simplicity meant there were often times when unrelated families ended up bearing the same designs. By the 14th century, the sharing of coat of arms had become less tolerated. In many cases, the monarch was the final arbiter on any decision.
George Drewry Squibb, LVO, QC, JP, FSA, FRHistS, FSG was an English lawyer, herald and antiquary who is most noted for his participation in the celebrated 1954 case of Manchester Corporation v Manchester Palace of Varieties Ltd  in the High Court of Chivalry, the first case heard by that court for over two hundred years.
The Privy Council Appeals Act 1832 abolished the High Court of Delegates and transferred its powers to hear appeals in ecclesiastical and admiralty cases to the King in Council. The Council had previously served only as a court of final resort from the Delegates under the infrequently invoked procedure of petitioning for commissions of review.