Chief Justiciar

The chief justiciar is the chief judicial and political minister of England, and the head of the royal bureaucracy. The chief justiciar is the most important secular official in the country.   When the king is in England, the chief justiciar is head of the judiciary. They preside over the King's court of justice at Westminster, and over sessions of the Exchequer.   When the king is overseas, the chief justiciar acts as regent or viceroy, responsible for the entire government of the kingdom in the place of the king.


The oinly real qualification is the king's trust and confidence. Chief justiciars are usually educated man who alreadt have high statusas a bishop or baron. They were usually legal experts even before their appointment.


The king appoints the chief justiciar.

Grounds for Removal/Dismissal

The chief justiciar serves at the king's pleasure, and may be dismissed only by the king. When William Longchamp was deposed as Chief Justiciar in October 1191, it was on the strength of letters from King Richard I authorising his co-justiciars to do so if necessary.


King William I (1066-1087) trusted his half-brother Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and later Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham, to act as regents or lieutenants in his stead. Their positions were not formal, however. The office of Justiciar (later Chief Justiciar) was not created until the reigh of King Henry I (1100-1135).
Civic, Law
Active office
Alternative Naming
Source of Authority
The king
Length of Term
First Holder
Current Holders
Reports directly to
Related Organizations


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