Bar Chairman says “Lord Chancellor is critical to our economic wellbeing”

22 July 2016

Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, welcomed the first woman Lord Chancellor, The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, at her swearing in ceremony. 

In a speech to the court at the Royal Courts of Justice, Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC, said: 

"It is an honour and a privilege to represent the Bar of England and Wales in welcoming the new Lord Chancellor. It is a particular pleasure to welcome the first woman to hold this office.  

"The office of Lord Chancellor is one which has seen significant reform, but it has retained its prestige and weight. Its historic importance is perhaps best reflected by the fact that, in the order of precedence, after the Royal Family, only the Archbishop of Canterbury and when appointed the Lord High Steward, rank higher than the Lord Chancellor. 

"Much has been said and written about the role of the Lord Chancellor following the reforms introduced to this office earlier this century. My Lord, I would suggest, that in 2016, over 900 years since the first Lord Chancellor, the office remains right at the heart of our constitutional arrangements. The central role which the Lord Chancellor plays in ensuring that both judicial independence and the rule of law are maintained is reflected in the unique oath set out in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 which the Lord Chancellor must make and which is made in addition to the oath of allegiance made by privy councillors and other Cabinet Ministers. 

"In a motion to take note of last year's Report of the Constitution Committee on the Office of Lord Chancellor, the Chairman of that committee, Lord Lang noted that the Lord Chancellor had additional responsibilities in relation to the rule of law: in his words "It requires the Lord Chancellor to seek to ensure that the rule of law is upheld both within Cabinet and across government. One could describe him or her as playing the role of the Government's conscience, ensuring that the Government follow not only the letter but the spirit of the law, and indeed the constitution." In short the role of the Lord Chancellor is a critical part of our democracy and in turn of our economic wellbeing.  Reflecting on some of the tumultuous and recent events overseas, it is clear that the importance of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary cannot be taken for granted. Nor should we take for granted the need to foster and maintain these fundamental cornerstones of our society. 

"My Lord, the Bar of England and Wales very much looks forward to working with the new Lord Chancellor and wishes her every success in her new role." 

ENDS 

Notes to Editors 

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