The Lord Chancellor

The Lord Chancellor is a Cabinet minister and currently a Member of the House of Commons. 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 in modern times.

Ministry of Justice

On 9 May 2007, the Ministry of Justice was created. The two roles of Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor have since been carried out by one person with the office-holder holding both titles. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for the courts, prisons and probation services in England and Wales.

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 separated its different responsibilities and made a clearer distinction between government, Parliament and the judiciary.

Commons Library briefings

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial.

Image: PA

Contact the House of Commons Enquiry Service

The House of Commons Enquiry Service provides information on the work, history and membership of the House of Commons.

  • Telephone: 0800 112 4272 (Freephone) or 020 7219 4272
  • Email:
  • Text relay:  Dial 18001 followed by our full number

Our telephone enquiry service is open between 10am-12 midday and 2pm-4pm (Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).


The House of Commons Enquiry Service produces a series of free publications which you can read online, or contact us to request copies.

House of Commons on Twitter

Follow @HouseofCommons for updates on the UK House of Commons Chamber.

Related Information

Related internet links

Parliament is not responsible for the content of external websites.

UK Supreme Court - 2009

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