Chancellor - Functions Related To Justice and The Law

Functions Related To Justice and The Law

  • In Finland the Chancellor of Justice (Oikeuskansleri, Justitiekanslern) supervises the legality of actions taken by the government and monitors the implementation of basic civil liberties. In this special function the chancellor also sits in the Finnish Cabinet, the Finnish Council of State.
  • In Sweden the Chancellor of Justice or Justitiekanslern acts as the Solicitor General for the Swedish Government. The office was introduced by Charles XII of Sweden in 1713. Historically there was also a Lord High Chancellor or Rikskansler as the most senior member of the Privy Council of Sweden. There is in addition to this a University Chancellor or Universitetskansler, who leads the National Agency for Higher Education.
  • In the legal system of the United Kingdom, the term can refer to two officials:
    • The Lord Chancellor (Lord High Chancellor, King's Chancellor) is the occupant of one of the oldest offices of state, dating back to the Kingdom of England, and older than Parliament itself. Theoretically, the Lord Chancellor is the "Chancellor of Great Britain"; there was formerly an office of "Chancellor of Ireland" which was abolished in 1922, when all but Northern Ireland left the United Kingdom. The Lord Chancellor is the second highest non-royal subject in precedence (after the Archbishop of Canterbury). In addition to various ceremonial duties, he is head of the Ministry of Justice, which was created in May 2007 from the Department for Constitutional Affairs (which was created in 2003 from the Lord Chancellor's Department). In this role, he sits in the Cabinet. Until the Constitutional Reform Act of 2005, the Lord Chancellor had two additional roles:
      • Head of the English, but not Scottish, judiciary. In previous centuries, the Lord Chancellor was the sole judge in the Court of Chancery; when, in 1873, that court was combined with others to form the High Court, the Lord Chancellor became the nominal head of the Chancery Division. The Lord Chancellor was permitted to participate in judicial sittings of the House of Lords; he also chose the committees that heard appeals in the Lords. The de facto head of the Chancery Division was the Vice-Chancellor, and the role of choosing appellate committees was in practice fulfilled by the Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.
      • De facto speaker of the House of Lords. These duties are now undertaken by the Lord Speaker. The Lord Chancellor Jack Straw, was the first who is a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords or its predecessor, the Curia Regis, since Sir Christopher Hatton in 1578.
    • The Chancellor of the High Court is the head of the Chancery Division of the High Court of Justice. Before 2005, the judge occupying this position was known as the Vice-Chancellor, the Lord Chancellor being the nominal head of the Division.
  • Some U.S. states, like Delaware and Mississippi, still maintain a separate Court of Chancery with jurisdiction over equity cases. Judges who sit on those courts are called chancellors.

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