A high sheriff is a ceremonial officer for each shrieval county of England and Wales and Northern Ireland or the chief sheriff of a number of paid sheriffs in U.S. states who outranks and commands the others in their court-related functions. In Canada, the High Sheriff provides administrative services to the supreme and provincial courts.
The office existed in the Irish Free State, but was abolished in 1926.
In England and Wales, the offices of high sheriff were created at the direction of the Local Government Act 1972 incepting on 1 April 1974. The purpose was to distinguish sheriffs of counties proper from sheriffs of cities and boroughs designated counties corporate. Except for the City of London, which has two sheriffs, these cities and boroughs no longer have sheriffs, leaving only high sheriffs in England and Wales in the sheriff's office. The office is now an unpaid privilege with ceremonial duties, the sheriffs being appointed annually by the Crown through a warrant from the Privy Council except in Cornwall, where the high sheriff is appointed by the Duke of Cornwall and in Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, where the High Sheriff is appointed by the Duke of Lancaster (currently the Queen). In England and Wales the office's civil (civil judgement) enforcement powers exist but are not exercised by convention.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the high sheriff (or in the City of London the sheriffs) are theoretically the sovereign's judicial representative in the county,[ citation needed ] while the Lord Lieutenant is the sovereign's personal and military representative. Their jurisdictions, the shrieval counties, are no longer co-terminous with administrative areas, representing a mix between the ancient counties and more recent local authority areas.[ citation needed ] The post contrasts with that of sheriff in Scotland, who is a judge sitting in a sheriff court.
The word sheriff is a contraction of the term shire reeve . The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace (a reeve) throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king.The term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. The office of sheriff had its origins in the 10th century; the office reached the height of its power under the Norman kings. While the sheriffs originally had been men of great standing at court, the 13th century saw a process whereby the office devolved on significant men within each county, usually landowners. The Provisions of Oxford (1258) established a yearly tenure of office. The appointments and duties of the sheriffs in England and Wales were redefined by the Sheriffs Act 1887. Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972, on 1 April 1974, the office previously known as sheriff was retitled high sheriff.
The serving high sheriff submits a list of names of possible future high sheriffs to a tribunal which chooses three names to put to the Sovereign. The nomination is made on 12 November every year and the term of office runs from 25 March, the first day of the year until 1751. No person may be appointed twice in three years, unless there is no other suitable person in the county.[ citation needed ]
The Sheriffs Act 1887 (as amended) provides that sheriffs should be nominated on 12 November (Martinmas), or the Monday following if it falls on a Sunday, by any two or more of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Lord President of the Council, and the Lord Chief Justice of England; other members of the Privy Council; and any two or more judges of Her Majesty's High Court.These amendments were in 1998, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was granted full entitlement, not merely conditional entitlement, if there is no Lord High Treasurer – since the Treasurership is by constitutional convention always placed into commission, and in 2006 the Lord Chancellor was removed as a nominating officer through the operation of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
These officers nominate three candidates for each county in England and Wales (with the exception of Cornwall, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Lancashire), which are enrolled on a parchment by the Queen's Remembrancer.
Eligibility for nomination and appointment as high sheriff under the Sheriffs Act 1887 excludes peers of Parliament, members of the House of Commons, commissioners or officers of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, officers of the Post Office and officers of the Navy, Army or Royal Air Force on full pay, clergymen (whether beneficed or not) and barristers or solicitors in actual practice.
The practice of pricking is an ancient custom used to appoint the high sheriffs of England and Wales.
In February or March of each year, two parchments prepared the previous November are presented to the Sovereign (who is also Duke of Lancaster) at a meeting of the Privy Council. A further parchment is drawn up in November for Cornwall and presented to the Duke of Cornwall (or to the Sovereign when there is no such Duke).
Certain eligible persons (High Court judges and the Privy Council) nominate candidates for each county shrievalty, one of whom is chosen for each by the Sovereign. In practice, the first name on the list is nowadays always the one chosen; the second and third names tend to become sheriffs in succeeding years, barring incapacity or death. The Sovereign signifies assent by pricking (i.e., piercing) the document with a silver bodkin by the relevant name for each county, and signs the parchment when complete. The parchment for the Duchy of Lancaster is known as the Lites, and the ceremony of selection known as Pricking the Lites. [ according to whom? ] The Lites is used for the three ceremonial counties that fall wholly or partially within the boundaries of the historic county palatine of Lancaster (an administrative county until 1 April 1974): Lancashire, Greater Manchester, and Merseyside.The term lites, meaning list, was once reserved for Yorkshire; the date at which the name was transferred to Lancashire is unknown.
The practice is believed to date back to a year in the reign of Elizabeth I, when, lacking a pen, she decided to use her bodkin to mark the name instead. By contrast, Lord Campbell stated, perhaps without intention of publication, in February 1847, "[it began] in ancient times, sir, when sovereigns did not know how to write their names." while acquiring a prick and a signature from Queen Victoria as Prince Albert asked him when the custom began.The High Sheriff's Association argues pricking vellum ensured that the record could not be altered. Given that holders of the office often had to bear large costs and implement unpopular policies altering the choice of the monarch must sometimes have been tempting.
The declaration a person must make before taking the office of high sheriff is contained in the second schedule of the Sheriffs Act 1887.Additional words are inserted in the case of the Duchy of Cornwall; for example, the declaration includes: "do solemnly declare that I will well and truly serve the Queen’s Majesty and also his Royal Highness Duke of Cornwall".
Contemporary high sheriffs have few genuine responsibilities and their functions are largely representational, which include attendance at royal visits and a High Court judge opening ceremony, proclamation of a new leader, and acting as a returning officer during elections.
Theoretical responsibilities include the well-being and protection of High Court judges, and attending them in court; and the maintenance of the loyalty of subjects to the Crown.However, most of the high sheriff's work is delegated (for example, the local police now protect judges and courts) so that in effect the post of high sheriff is essentially ceremonial.
The high sheriff was traditionally responsible for the maintenance of law and order within the county, although most of these duties are now delegated to the police. [ citation needed ] this was still legal in the 17th century. Edward Coke noted that when the high sheriff employed constables to assist in his duties the law was also extended to them.As a result of its close links with law and order the position is frequently awarded to people with an association with law enforcement (former police officers, lawyers, magistrates, judges). The high sheriff was originally allowed to kill suspects resisting arrest;
Under the provisions of the Sheriffs Act 1887, if a sheriff finds any resistance in the execution of a writ he shall "take with him the power of the county" (known as posse comitatus), and shall go in proper person to do execution, and may arrest the resisters and commit them to prison, and every such resister shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
There are two Sheriffs of the City of London, elected annually by the City of London Liverymen; their function is similar but not equivalent to that of high sheriff since the City of London forms its own ceremonial county, thus not under the jurisdiction of High Sheriff of Greater London. The Sheriffs of London also served as sheriffs for Middlesex until 1889 when the office of High Sheriff of Middlesex was created.
The Duchy of Cornwall's first charter in 1337 states that the Shrievalty of Cornwall, the right to appoint the Sheriff for the County, is vested in the Duke of Cornwall.Two further charters, dated 18 March 1337 and 3 January 1338, state that no Sheriff of the King shall enter Cornwall to execute the King's Writ. The High Sheriff of Cornwall swears to serve both the reigning Monarch and Duke of Cornwall (i.e., the Crown Prince). When there is no Duke of Cornwall, the Duchy Council still sits, but under the Trusteeship of the English (since 1707, British) Monarch. Only as Duchy Trustee can the Monarch appoint the Sheriff of Cornwall. Nomination and appointment generally takes place during Hilary, and announced via the Duchy of Cornwall Office.
The High Sheriff of Durham was appointed by the Prince-Bishop of Durham until 1836, when the jurisdiction of the county palatine became vested in the Crown.Since then the High Sheriffs of Durham have been appointed in the same way as other high sheriffs in England and Wales.
After an act of parliament in 1535/6 ended the palatine status of the Isle, the bishop remained custos rotulorum and appointed a chief bailiff for life to perform the functions of high sheriff within the liberty.
The right to nominate and select high sheriffs in Lancashire is vested in the monarch in right of the Duchy of Lancaster.Before 1974, this right applied only to the High Sheriff of Lancashire, but since the boundary changes of the Local Government Act 1972 (effective 1974), the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester and High Sheriff of Merseyside also come under the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Lancaster. As with other counties in England, three names are nominated to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster for Lancashire appointments; the Chancellor presents these to the Monarch with his recommendation in a private audience. New appointments are usually announced during Hilary.
The nomination of sheriffs in the counties of Wales was first vested by statute in the Council of Wales and the Marches and the Welsh justices under Henry VIII. With the abolition of the Council in 1689, the power of nomination was transferred to the justices of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales. When this court was abolished in 1830, its rights were in turn transferred to the courts of King's Bench, Exchequer, and Commons Pleas.Finally, by an Act of Parliament of 1845, the nomination and appointment of sheriffs in Wales was made identical to that in England.
The Sheriffs (Ireland) Act 1920 restricted the duties of the high sheriff to summoning of the county grand jury and attending the judge at assizes.In the Irish Free State the Courts of Justice Act 1924 abolished the grand jury and the assizes; and the office of high sheriff was formally abolished by the Court Officers Act 1926. The office continues to exist in Northern Ireland.
In the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, the High Sheriff is primarily responsible for providing administrative and enforcement services to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and the Provincial Courts. The Office of the High Sheriff administers the jury system, provides court security and executes orders and decisions of the court. These Officers act in the name of the Sheriff in accordance with directions given them and the law. They include bailiffs, Deputy Sheriffs, fee-for-service Deputy Sheriffs, and all other employees and staff of the High Sheriff. Sheriff's Officers have both the power and the duty to carry out orders of the Court. They are peace officers under the Criminal Code of Canada and have all the powers and protection of law enforcement officers.
The position of high sheriff in the United States generally denotes the superior sheriff in a state, or the head of a statewide sheriff's department. Such a position exists in Rhode Island (executive high sheriff),and Hawaii. In New Hampshire, the ten high sheriffs are the senior law enforcement officers of each county, and have police powers throughout the state.
The New York City Sheriff functions as a high sheriff over the five counties/boroughs; each of which contains a subordinate undersheriff in charge.
Duke of Cornwall is a title in the Peerage of England, traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch, previously the English monarch. The Duchy of Cornwall was the first duchy created in England and was established by a royal charter in 1337. The present duke is the Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. His wife, Camilla, is the current Duchess of Cornwall.
A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England, where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated to English as sheriff, and this is discussed below.
A bailiff is a manager, overseer or custodian; a legal officer to whom some degree of authority or jurisdiction is given. Bailiffs are of various kinds and their offices and duties vary greatly.
The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British sovereign as Duke of Lancaster. The principal purpose of the estate is to provide a source of independent income to the sovereign. The estate consists of a portfolio of lands, properties and assets held in trust for the sovereign and is administered separately from the Crown Estate. The duchy consists of 18,433 ha of land holdings, urban developments, historic buildings and some commercial properties across England and Wales, particularly in Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Savoy Estate in London. The Duchy of Lancaster is one of two royal duchies: the other is the Duchy of Cornwall, which provides income to the Duke of Cornwall.
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom is organised separately in each of the legal systems of the United Kingdom: England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Most law enforcement is carried out by police officers serving in regional police services within one of those jurisdictions. These regional services are complemented by UK-wide agencies, such as the National Crime Agency and the national specialist units of certain territorial police forces, such as the Specialist Operations directorate of the Metropolitan Police.
Bona vacantia is a legal concept associated with property that has no owner. It exists in various jurisdictions, with consequently varying application, but with origins mostly in English law.
The Duchy of Cornwall is one of two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Lancaster. The eldest son of the reigning British monarch inherits possession of the duchy and title of Duke of Cornwall at birth or when his parent succeeds to the throne, but may not sell assets for personal benefit and has limited rights and income as a minor.
In England and Wales, Northern Ireland and most Commonwealth and colonial governments, the chief law officer of the Crown is the Attorney General.
In England, Wales and Ireland a county palatine or palatinate was an area ruled by a hereditary nobleman enjoying special authority and autonomy from the rest of a kingdom or empire. The name derives from the Latin adjective palātīnus, "relating to the palace", from the noun palātium, "palace". It thus implies the exercise of a quasi-royal prerogative within a county, that is to say a jurisdiction ruled by an earl, the English equivalent of a count. A duchy palatine is similar but is ruled over by a duke, a nobleman of higher precedence than an earl or count.
The Tipstaff is an officer of a court or, in some countries, a law clerk to a judge. The duties of the position vary from country to country. It is also the name of a symbolic rod, which represents the authority of the tipstaff or other officials such as senior police officers.
In the United Kingdom, a deputy lieutenant is a Crown appointment and one of several deputies to the lord lieutenant of a lieutenancy area: an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county.
Lancashire is a county of England, in the northwest of the country. The county did not exist in 1086, for the Domesday Book, and was apparently first created in 1182, making it one of the youngest of the traditional counties.
Cornwall is an administrative county of England.
A High Court enforcement officer (HCEO) is an officer of the High Court of England and Wales responsible for enforcing judgements of the High Court, often by seizing goods or repossessing property. Prior to 2004, HCEOs were known as sheriff's officers and were responsible for enforcing High Court writs on behalf of the high sheriff for each county, but they are now directly responsible for such writs. HCEOs operate only in England and Wales.
An undersheriff is an office derived from ancient English custom that remains in, among other places, England and Wales and the United States, though performing different functions.
The Office of High Sheriff of Greater Manchester is the ceremonial position of High Sheriff appointed to Greater Manchester, a metropolitan county in North West England. The appointment is made by the British monarch, in their capacity as Duke of Lancaster, by pricking the Lites. Created in 1974, the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester has the duty to "protect and assist in upholding the dignity and well being of Her Majesty's judges and to represent the Queens executive powers in respect of the administration of justice in the county".
In the British peerage, a royal duke is a member of the British royal family, entitled to the titular dignity of prince and the style of His Royal Highness, who holds a dukedom. Dukedoms are the highest titles in the British roll of peerage, and the holders of these particular dukedoms are Princes of the Blood Royal. The holders of the dukedoms are royal, not the titles themselves. They are titles created and bestowed on legitimate sons and male-line grandsons of the British monarch, usually upon reaching their majority or marriage. The titles can be inherited but cease to be called "royal" once they pass beyond the grandsons of a monarch. As with any peerage, once the title becomes extinct, it may subsequently be recreated by the reigning monarch at any time.
Duke, in the United Kingdom, is the highest-ranking hereditary title in all four peerages of the British Isles. A duke thus outranks all other holders of titles of nobility.
The Court of Common Pleas of the County Palatine of Lancaster, sometimes called the Common Pleas of or at Lancaster was a court of common pleas that exercised jurisdiction within the County Palatine of Lancaster until its jurisdiction was transferred to the High Court by the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873. It was a Superior Court of Record, exercising, within the limits of the County Palatine, a jurisdiction similar to that of the superior courts of common law at Westminster.