Lord Chancellor

The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking after only the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister. Prior to the Union there were separate Lord Chancellors of England and Scotland.

The Lord Chancellor is a member of the Cabinet and, by law, is responsible for the efficient functioning and independence of the courts. Formerly he was also the presiding officer of the House of Lords, and the head of the judiciary in England and Wales, but the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 transferred these roles to the Lord Speaker and the Lord Chief Justice respectively. The current Lord Chancellor is Chris Grayling, who is also Secretary of State for Justice.

One of the Lord Chancellor's responsibilities is to act as the custodian of the Great Seal. A Lord Keeper of the Great Seal may be appointed instead of a Lord Chancellor. The two offices entail exactly the same duties; the only distinction is in the mode of appointment. Furthermore, the office of Lord Chancellor may be exercised by a committee of individuals known as "Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal", usually when there is a delay between an outgoing Chancellor and his replacement. The seal is then said to be "in commission". Since the 19th century, however, only Lord Chancellors have been appointed, the other offices having fallen into disuse.

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Read more about Lord Chancellor:  History, The Office, Legislative Functions, Executive Functions, Former Judicial Functions, Ecclesiastical Functions, Other Functions, Precedence and Privileges, Reform, Fictional Depictions

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