The High Sheriff

The High Sheriff is the Queen’s representative in the County for all matters relating to the Judiciary and the maintenance of law and order; much of the High Sheriff’s year is therefore spent supporting and encouraging the voluntary and statutory organisations who work in this area. In Cheshire this means involvement with the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts, the Police, Prison and Probation Services.

Traditionally High Sheriffs look after High Court Judges visiting the county. The High Sheriff can also make awards to those who, in the opinion of the Judges at a criminal trial, have been active in the apprehension of certain offenders.

The Office of High Sheriff is apolitical and as such the High Sheriff is in a unique position to bring people together within the county and to support the enormous contribution made by the emergency services, the armed forces, local authorities, church and faith groups as well as the charity sector and the many volunteers across the county.

In a ceremonial capacity the High Sheriff assists the Lord Lieutenant of the county with royal visits, is the Official Returning Officer for parliamentary elections and has responsibility for proclaiming the accession of a new Sovereign.

High Sheriffs are volunteers and meet the costs of their year in office themselves. No part of their expenses fall on the public purse.

Each High Sheriff’s year is characterised by his or her particular skills, experience and areas of interest, although all share key objectives for the role which are:

  • to uphold and enhance the ancient Office of High Sheriff and to make a meaningful contribution to the High Sheriff’s county during the year of office
  • to uphold and lend active support to the principal organs of the constitution – the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the Police and other law enforcement agencies, the emergency services, local authorities and all recognised church and faith groups
  • to assure the welfare of visiting High Court judges, to attend on them at Court and to offer them hospitality
  • to support and encourage the voluntary sector
  • to support the Lord Lieutenant on royal visits and on other occasions as appropriate.

The Under Sheriff

The High Sheriff has a legal duty to appoint an Under Sheriff at the start of his year, usually a local solicitor. Often the Under Sheriff will have held the post for several years, a continuity which High Sheriffs find extremely helpful. Today the role is largely concerned with helping the High Sheriff at ceremonial occasions as well as assisting with other legal matters such as those relating to parliamentary elections. The Under Sheriff’s support and time is most generously and freely given. Read more here

Chaplain to the High Sheriff

High Sheriffs greatly value the tradition of appointing their own Chaplain for their support and advice and for their assistance at shrieval church services and on other formal occasions. In Cheshire a significant event of the High Sheriff’s year is the Legal Service which gives thanks for the Queen’s Peace and our Heritage. This formal church service is attended by the Lord Lieutenant, High Court Judges, visiting High Sheriffs and other prominent county dignitaries. The Chaplain’s time and support is also most generously and freely given. Read more here

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