Clerk of the Parliaments
|Clerk of the Parliaments|
|Clerk of the Parliaments' Office|
The Clerk of the Parliaments is the chief clerk of the House of Lords in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The position has existed since at least 1315, and duties include preparing the minutes of Lords proceedings, advising on proper parliamentary procedure and pronouncing the Royal Assent. Many of the Clerk's duties are now fulfilled by his deputies and the Clerk of the Parliaments' Office.
The term Clerk of the Parliaments is also used as a formal alternative title by the Clerk of the Senate of Canada and the Clerks of the Legislative Councils of New South Wales and Western Australia. In the Australian state of Victoria the title is given to the longer-serving of the Clerks of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly. The title was also formerly used for the Clerk of the Australian Senate and the longer-serving of the Clerks of the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly of South Australia.
The position has existed since at least 1315, when records from the Parliament held by Edward II at Lincoln make reference to a clerk nominated by the king to serve as a "special deputy". This clerk was tasked with reading out the titles of bills and the responses from Parliament. In later Parliaments starting with those under Richard II, the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery would read the titles, and the Clerk of the Parliaments the responses. The actual term "Clerk of the Parliaments" did not come into use until the reign of Henry VIII, and the plural (Parliaments, rather than Parliament) signifies that it is a life appointment - the Clerk is appointed for all Parliaments, not just the one currently sitting. On 12 March 1660 a deputy clerk was appointed for the first time after the Clerk (Mr Bowyer) was too ill to attend Parliament. The Clerk of the Parliaments Act 1824 defined the Clerk's duties for the first time in statute, and the Act is still in force and binding on current clerks.
Appointment and duties
The Clerk of the Parliaments is appointed by letters patent from the sovereign, who also holds the sole power to remove him or her. The Clerk has a variety of tasks within the House of Lords. Appointees were originally ecclesiastical figures, although the nineteenth century saw a shift towards members of the legal profession. He is assisted by two other clerks - the Clerk Assistant and the Reading Clerk.
The Clerk of the Parliaments, or another clerk, sits in the Chamber at the Table of the House during sittings, and calls on items of business. At the start of a sitting all three Table clerks (Clerk of the Parliaments, Clerk Assistant and Reading Clerk) are normally present. When at the Table the Clerk wears court dress (including a tail coat and waistcoat), a gown and a wig. The wig worn by the Clerk of the Parliaments is a bench wig as worn by a High Court judge; other clerks wear a barrister's wig. Male clerks wear a wing collar and white bow tie, and female clerks bands as worn by barristers.
As well as providing advice on procedure, the Clerk also prepares the minutes of proceedings in the Lords, signs all official documents and communications, returns bills to the House of Commons and pronounces the Royal Assent. The Clerk also supervises several offices, including his own (the Clerk of the Parliaments' Office), Black Rod's Department, which deals with security in the Lords, the Committee Office, which gives legal and procedural advice to committees within the Lords, and formerly (until 2009) the Judicial Office, which advised and assisted the Law Lords. Since the nineteenth century many of these duties have been performed by his deputies and his own office.
|1290-1314||Gilbert of Rothbury|
|1315||Robert of Ashby|
|1316-||William of Airmyn|
|c1327-post 1334||Henry of Edenstowe|
|c1340-1346||Thomas of Brayton|
|in office 1351 & 1352||John of Coddington|
|in office 1377||Geoffrey Martin|
|in office 1377||Edmund Brudenell|
|?1372-1386||Richard de Ravenser|
|?c1381||John de Waltham|
|ante 1384-1394||John de Scarle|
|1597-1609||Thomas Smith||Knighted 1603|
|1818-1855||George Henry Rose|
|1997-13 July 2003||Michael Davies|
|14 July 2003-3 November 2007||Paul Hayter|||
|4 November 2007-15 April 2011||Michael Pownall|||
|16 April 2011 – present||David Beamish|||
- Parliamentary Corporate Bodies Act 1992, section 2(2): "The individual who for the time being is by letters patent appointed to the office of the Under Clerk of the Parliaments (and who is customarily referred to as the Clerk of the House of Commons) shall be the Corporate Officer of the Commons."
- http://www.aph.gov.au/exhibitions/pogg/work/administration.htm, http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/pubs/aso/so_137.htm
- Macqueen (1842) p.63
- Pollard (1942) p.314
- Macqueen (1842) p.64
- "UK Parliament - The Clerk of the Parliaments". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- The Stationery Office (2007) p.18
- Macqueen (1842) p.65
- "Clerk of the Parliaments". BBC. 14 August 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- The Stationery Office (2007) p.19
- The Stationery Office (2007) p.21
- Appointments prior to 1485 are taken from Guide to the Records of Parliament by M F Bond (HMSO 1971), p.303
- The London Gazette: . 1 August 1983. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- The London Gazette: . 18 July 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- The London Gazette: . 12 November 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
- The London Gazette: . 10 November 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-11.
- The London Gazette: . 27 April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
- Pollard, A.F. (1942). "The Clerk of the Crown". The English Historical Review (Oxford University Press) 57 (227). ISSN 0013-8266.
- Macqueen, John Fraser (1842). A practical treatise on the appellate jurisdiction of the House of Lords & Privy Council: together with the practice on parliamentary divorce. A. Maxwell & son. OCLC 60725157.
- The Stationery Office (2007). Companion to the standing orders and guide to the proceedings of the House of Lords: laid on the table by the clerk of the parliaments (21st ed.). The Stationery Office. ISBN 0-10-400709-5.
- Todd, Alpheus (1840). The practice and privileges of the two Houses of Parliament: with an appendix of forms. Rogers & Thompson. ISBN 0-665-27779-2. OCLC 16440023.
|Officers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords|
|House of Commons||House of Lords|
|Speaker||John Bercow||Lord Speaker||The Baroness D'Souza|
|Leader of the House of Commons||William Hague||Leader of the House of Lords||The Baroness Stowell of Beeston|
|Serjeant at Arms||Lawrence Ward||Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod||Lt-Gen. David Leakey|
|Clerk of the House and Chief Executive||vacant||Clerk of the Parliaments||David Beamish|