Recorder of London
The Recorder of London is an ancient legal office in the City of London. The Recorder of London is appointed by the City's Court of Aldermen and is a member of it, and is paid by the City of London. The Recorder is now the senior Circuit Judge at the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey), hearing trials of criminal offences. The Recorder's deputy is the Common Serjeant of London, appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor.
Originally it seems likely that the Recorder would have recorded pleas in the court of the Lord Mayor and the Aldermen and delivered their judgments. A charter granted by Henry VI in 1444 appointed the Recorder ex office a conservator of the peace. The Recorder increasingly exercised judicial functions in the following years, eventually becoming the principal judge in the City of London.
The Recorder of London became a judge at the Central Criminal Court when it was created by Parliament in 1834. The Central Criminal Court became a Crown Court under the Courts Act 1971, but the Recorder maintained his position when the office of recorder in other cities became honorary positions.
In addition to hearing criminal trials at the Central Criminal Court, the Recorder of London is responsible for managing the court lists and allocation of cases to the court's judges. The Recorder also takes charge of the election of the Lord Mayor of London, declares the result, and presents the new Lord Mayor to the monarch for his or her approval, and also presents the Lord Mayor to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls and (in the past) to the Barons of the Exchequer. He also provides legal advice to the Lord Mayor and the Court of Aldermen. The Recorder can act as the deputy of the Common Serjeant in the election of the Sheriff and their presentation to the Queen's Remembrancer at the Quit Rent ceremony.
The Recorder of London is the returning officer at the election of the Verderers of Epping Forest, and is usually the High Steward of Southwark, holding the sittings of the three Court Leets there each year.
The former Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Peter Beaumont, CBE QC, held office from 2004 until his retirement in February 2013. The previous Common Serjeant of London, His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, took his place.
List of Recorders of London
(before 1495 may not be complete)
- Senior Circuit Judge Appointment - The Recorder of London, Judicial Appointments Commission
- Next Recorder of London announced: His Honour Judge Brian Barker QC, City of London, 10 December 2012
- The history and antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and other parts adjacent, Volume 2, Thomas Allen, 1839, p. 282-284
- The Bar and the Old Bailey, 1750-1850, p. 45, 151
- The Office of Recorder of the City of London, Sir Lawrence Verney, 30 October 2000