Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Office

Last updated

The Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Department was the most senior civil servant in the Lord Chancellor's Department and a senior member of Her Majesty's Civil Service. Officially titled Her Majesty's Permanent Under-Secretary of State to the Lord Chancellor's Department (although the full title was rarely used) the Permanent Secretary oversaw the day-to-day running of the Department. The position ceased to exist in 2003 when the Lord Chancellor's Department was subsumed into the newly created Department for Constitutional Affairs, which became the Ministry of Justice in 2007. Despite existing for 118 years the position was held by only nine individuals, [1] most notably Claud Schuster who served as Permanent Secretary for 29 years under 10 different Lord Chancellors. [2]

Contents

History

The position was created in 1885 by Lord Selborne, who was the Lord Chancellor at the time and decided to rearrange the offices in the Lord Chancellor's Department, justifying this by pointing out that:

The Lord Chancellor, though Minister of Justice for almost every purpose unconnected with the Criminal Law, had no assistance of the kind given to the other chief Departments of State, either of permanent secretaries or under secretaries. The officers attached to him were personal and liable to change with every change of government.. but on each change of government the lack of continuity was more or less felt; and as the Lord Chancellor's Department work had a constant tendency to increase, the pressure of that lack increased with it. [3]

As well as creating the position of Permanent Secretary Selborne's reforms also unified that position with the title of Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. [3] The first Permanent Secretary was Kenneth Muir Mackenzie, who had served as Principal Secretary before the reforms. [3] Mackenzie's tenure as Permanent Secretary was marked by traditionalism and cronyism; he refused to use shorthand or typewriting, only employed those who did not oppose him and refused to delegate duties to his subordinates. [4] As such when Claud Schuster was appointed in 1915 he found "a lack of method for the discharge of the ordinary business of the Department and the complete absence of any organisation for a continuous examination of the functions which the department supervised and for laying plans for the future". [5] He immediately attempted to reform the department, expanding the staff and introducing the use of shorthand and typewriters. [5] During his time as Permanent Secretary Schuster showed a greater ability to delegate than his predecessor, and when he left in 1944 the Lord Chancellor's Department was "running like a well-oiled machine". [5] The position underwent greater reform after the Courts Act 1971 came into effect, [5] and was finally abolished after the merger of the Lord Chancellor's Department into the Department for Constitutional Affairs, with the last holder of the office (Sir Hayden Phillips) becoming Permanent Secretary of the Department for Constitutional Affairs. [4]

Duties

The Permanent Secretary was required to have "an unusual degree of ability, energy and tact", [6] The Fulton Committee defined a Permanent Secretary's duties as:

Despite his position in the Lord Chancellor's Department the Permanent Secretary was in theory politically neutral, and could not be seen to be influencing legislature or judicial appointments. [6] As well as advising on policy the Permanent Secretary was also to be consulted (since the time of William Ewart Gladstone) whenever a question of public expenditure arose. [6]

Holders of the office

Appointed byNameTerm of officeNotes
The Lord Selborne Kenneth Muir Mackenzie 4 March 1885 5 July 1915 [7]
The Lord Haldane Claud Schuster 5 July 1915 1944 [8]
The Lord Simon Albert Napier 1944 4 June 1954 [9]
The Lord Simonds George Coldstream 4 June 1954 5 April 1968 [9]
The Lord Gardiner Denis Dobson 5 April 1968 15 April 1977 [10]
The Lord Elwyn-Jones Wilfrid Bourne 15 April 1977 1 October 1982 [11]
The Lord Hailsham Derek Oulton 1 October 1982 18 September 1989 [12]
The Lord Mackay Thomas Legg 18 September 1989 11 April 1998 [13]
The Lord Irvine Hayden Phillips 11 April 1998 12 June 2003 [14]

Related Research Articles

Chancellor of the Exchequer United Kingdom finance minister

The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a high-ranking minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of Her Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the chancellor is a senior member of the British Cabinet.

Duke of Windsor

Duke of Windsor was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 8 March 1937, for former King Edward VIII, following his abdication on 11 December 1936. The dukedom takes its name from the town where Windsor Castle, a residence of English monarchs since the time of Henry I, following the Norman Conquest, is situated. Windsor has been the house name of the royal family since 1917.

Lord President of the Council United Kingdom official position

The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking below the Lord High Treasurer but above the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends and is responsible for presiding over meetings of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom, presenting business for the monarch's approval. In the modern era, the holder is by convention always a member of one of the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom, and the office is normally a Cabinet post.

Lord Chancellor Highest-ranking regularly-appointed Great Officer of State of the United Kingdom

The lord chancellor, formally the lord high chancellor of Great Britain, is the highest-ranking among the great officers of state in the United Kingdom, nominally outranking the prime minister. The lord chancellor is appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the prime minister. Prior to their Union into the Kingdom of Great Britain, there were separate lord chancellors for the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland; there were lord chancellors of Ireland until 1922.

Charlie Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton

Charles Leslie Falconer, Baron Falconer of Thoroton,, is a British Labour peer and barrister who served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs under Prime Minister Tony Blair from 2003 to 2007.

Department for Constitutional Affairs

The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) was a United Kingdom government department. Its creation was announced on 12 June 2003 with the intention of replacing the Lord Chancellor's Department. On 28 March 2007 it was announced that the Department for Constitutional Affairs would take control of probation, prisons and prevention of re-offending from the Home Office and be renamed the Ministry of Justice. This took place on 9 May 2007.

Secretary of State for Justice United Kingdom government cabinet minister

The Secretary of State for Justice, also referred to as the Justice Secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom. The incumbent is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, sixth in the ministerial ranking. Since the office's inception, the incumbent has concurrently been appointed Lord Chancellor.

The Lord Chancellor's Department was a United Kingdom government department answerable to the Lord Chancellor with jurisdiction over England and Wales.

Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne British politician and Lord Chancellor (1812–1895)

Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne, was an English lawyer and politician. He served twice as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.

In the United Kingdom there are at least six Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, serving as a commission for the ancient office of Lord High Treasurer. The board consists of the First Lord of the Treasury, the Second Lord of the Treasury, and four or more junior lords to whom this title is usually applied.

The Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee of the United Kingdom was a select committee of the House of Commons which looked into the expenditure, policy and administration of the Department for Constitutional Affairs and associated public bodies. Following the reorganization of the Department of Constitutional Affairs and Home Affairs Committee and until the end of the 2006-2007 parliamentary session, the committee oversaw the Ministry of Justice. The committee has been replaced by the Justice Committee.

Second Gladstone ministry

After campaigning against the foreign policy of the Beaconsfield ministry, William Gladstone led the Liberal Party to victory in the 1880 general election. The nominal leader of the Party, Lord Hartington, resigned in Gladstone's favour and Gladstone was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for a second time by Queen Victoria. He pursued a policy of parliamentary reform, but his government became wildly unpopular after the death of General Gordon in 1885. Gladstone was held responsible, and resigned, leaving the way free for the Conservatives under Lord Salisbury to form a government.

Chancellor of the High Court

The Chancellor of the High Court is the head of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. This judge and the other two heads of divisions sit by virtue of their offices often, as and when their expertise is deemed relevant, in panel in the Court of Appeal. As such this judge ranks equally to the President of the Family Division and the President of the Queen's Bench Division.

Claud Schuster, 1st Baron Schuster British Baron

Claud Schuster, 1st Baron Schuster, was a British barrister and civil servant noted for his long tenure as Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Office. Born to a Mancunian business family, Schuster was educated at St. George's School, Ascot and Winchester College before matriculating at New College, Oxford in 1888 to read history. After graduation, he joined the Inner Temple with the aim of becoming a barrister, and was called to the Bar in 1895. Practising in Liverpool, Schuster was not noted as a particularly successful barrister, and he joined Her Majesty's Civil Service in 1899 as secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Local Government Act Commission.

Clerk of the Crown in Chancery Senior British civil servant

The Clerk of the Crown in Chancery in Great Britain is a senior civil servant who is the head of the Crown Office.

Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom)

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is a ministerial department of the British Government headed by the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. The department is responsible for areas of constitutional policy not transferred in 2010 to the Deputy Prime Minister, human rights law and information rights law across the UK.

Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs Former cabinet-level position in British government

The office of Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs was a British Government position, created in 2003. Certain functions of the Lord Chancellor which related to the Lord Chancellor's Department were transferred to the Secretary of State. At a later date further functions were also transferred to the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs from the First Secretary of State, a position within the government held by the Deputy Prime Minister.

Sir Alexander Claud Stuart Allan is a British civil servant who served as chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Head of Intelligence Assessment for Her Majesty's Government between 2007 and 2011.

Sir Albert Edward Alexander Napier was a British civil servant who served as Permanent Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Department between 1944 and 1954. The youngest son of Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala, Albert Napier studied at Eton College and New College, Oxford before being called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 1909. In 1915 he became Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor, and in 1919 Assistant Secretary to the Lord Chancellor's Office.

The Crown Office, also known as the Crown Office in Chancery, is a section of the Ministry of Justice. It has custody of the Great Seal of the Realm, and has certain administrative functions in connection with the courts and the judicial process, as well as functions relating to the electoral process for House of Commons elections, to the keeping of the Roll of the Peerage, and to the preparation of royal documents such as warrants required to pass under the royal sign-manual, fiats, letters patent, etc. In legal documents, the Crown Office refers to the office of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.

References

  1. Hall (2003) p.40
  2. Hall (2003) p.42
  3. 1 2 3 Hall (2003) p.41
  4. 1 2 Hall (2003) p.44
  5. 1 2 3 4 Hall (2003) p.46
  6. 1 2 3 4 Hall (2003) p.48
  7. "No. 25449". The London Gazette . 6 March 1885. pp. 971–972.
  8. "No. 29218". The London Gazette . 6 July 1915. pp. 6580–6581.
  9. 1 2 "No. 40196". The London Gazette . 4 June 1954. pp. 3336–3337.
  10. "No. 44561". The London Gazette . 5 April 1968. pp. 4051–4052.
  11. "No. 47203". The London Gazette . 22 April 1977. pp. 5469–5470.
  12. "No. 49128". The London Gazette . 4 October 1982. pp. 12867–12868.
  13. "No. 51874". The London Gazette . 18 September 1989. pp. 10669–10670.
  14. "No. 55095". The London Gazette . 14 April 1998. pp. 4204–4205.

Bibliography