The Lord Chancellor

The Lord Chancellor is a Cabinet minister and currently a Member of the House of Commons. Recent reforms including the creation of the Ministry of Justice and the election of a Lord Speaker for the House of Lords have significantly altered the role of Lord Chancellor.

Ministry of Justice

On 9 May 2007, the Ministry of Justice was created. The
Ministry of Justice is responsible for courts, prisons, probation and constitutional affairs. The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor is the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP.

Election of the first Lord Speaker

On 4 July 2006, Members of the House of Lords elected their first Lord Speaker. This new role assumed some of the Lord Chancellor's responsibilities, such as chairing debates in the Lords' chamber and speaking for the House on ceremonial occasions.

Judicial Appointments Commission

A new Judicial Appointments Commission began to operate from 3 April 2006. This ended the Lord Chancellor's past position as head of the judiciary (courts of law in England and Wales) and power to appoint judges.

The role of the Lord Chancellor

The reform of the Lord Chancellor's role separate its different responsibilities and make a clear distinction between government, Parliament and the judiciary.

Image: PA

Related information

House of Commons Information Office

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Publications

The HCIO produces a number of publications that include:

House of Commons on Twitter

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UK Supreme Court - 2009

The judicial function of Parliament ended in 2009, when an independent UK Supreme Court was established.