My Lord Chancellor, it is my great pleasure to welcome you here today on behalf of Her Majesty’s Judges and to receive your affirmation on taking office as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. It is an historic office, a great office of state and an office of single constitutional importance.
The offices of Lord Chancellor and Lord Keeper of the Great Seal are ancient, but this ceremony is a recent development that reflects the constitutional evolution of the office in recent times. We greet you in our full ceremonial robes, not that often worn, perhaps a little over dressed for some. But the solemnity of this occasion is designed to reflect the most important position that the office of Lord Chancellor occupies in our constitutional settlement. That importance is reflected in the statutory oath which we have just heard. All Ministers are required by the Constitutional Reform Act to uphold the independence of the judiciary but you, my Lord Chancellor, have a special duty to defend that independence, as well as to respect the rule of law and ensure the necessary resources for the courts and tribunals for which you are responsible.