lord chancellor


lord chancellor

plural lords chancellor


:  a British officer of state who presides over the House of Lords in both its legislative and judicial capacities, serves as the head of the British judiciary, and is usually a leading member of the cabinet

First Known Use of LORD CHANCELLOR

15th century

lord chancellor

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

British official who is custodian of the great seal and a cabinet minister. Until the 14th century the chancellor served as royal chaplain and king's secretary. The office acquired a more judicial character in the reign of Edward III (1327–77). Most of the office's power, exemplified in the administrations of St. Thomas Becket (died 1170) and Thomas Cardinal Wolsey (died 1530), ceased to exist centuries ago. The lord chancellor, however, remained an important post, with responsibilities that included heading the judiciary and serving as speaker of the House of Lords. As Lords speaker, the chancellor stated the question and took part in debates. In 2006 the office's role was redefined through several constitutional reforms. The lord chancellor lost most judicial functions, and the Lords speaker became an elected office. The changes allowed the lord chancellor to focus on constitutional affairs.


lord chancellor also called Lord High Chancellor or Lord Keeper of the Great Seal


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