Among many other judicial appointments made by him may be mentioned that of the Public Trustee. He is himself the head of the Chancery Division of the High Court, and can sit as a judge in that court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords, although he usually confines his judicial activities to the last-named assembly. He is the general guardian of all infants and lunatics, is a visitor of all hospitals and colleges where there is a royal foundation and exercises a considerable amount of ecclesiastical patronage. In accordance with an Act of 1829 the office of Lord Chancellor is one which a Roman Catholic cannot hold.

He issues writs for the election of members to a new Parliament, and is also one of the Commissioners for giving the royal assent to bills or opening or proroguing Parliament when this is not done by the King in person.

He only acts as Lord Chancellor in Great Britain. Ireland has its own Lord Chancellor, who has somewhat similar duties with the custody of a duplicate seal of the United Kingdom for use in Irish affairs.


§ 97. The Law Officers of the Crown are the AttorneyGeneral and the Solicitor-General. In spite of their names both are barristers; they rank as the official heads of the bar during their term of office. The bar is the term used to describe the whole body of barristers, just as 'the bench" refers to the judges. The Attorney-General is the principal law officer, and the Solicitor-General occupies a subsidiary position, but both have much the same duties to perform. They are not allowed to engage in private practice, but may in addition to their official salaries charge fees for all work done. They represent the Crown in the courts of law and conduct prosecutions and civil suits in which the Crown is interested, such as actions to recover revenue. In the more important cases alone

do they take part personally. In the others they are represented by their nominees.

A further and, perhaps, more important duty of these officers is to advise the Government generally and the various departments in particular as to the legality of any proposed course of action.

They are invariably members of the House of Commons, but they also receive a writ of attendance to the House of Lords. It is in accordance with this writ that the AttorneyGeneral attends when the House is sitting as a committee of privileges in peerage cases in order to be the mouthpiece of the views of the Crown. Like the judges, to whom this writ is also sent, he has, however, no right to a seat in the House of Lords: his only function is to give advice.

Their duties only extend to England and Wales, and similars officers are appointed for Ireland. In Scotland their place is taken by the Lord Advocate and the SolicitorGeneral for Scotland, although the former of these officers has various other duties.

§ 98. Other Cabinet Ministers, as has been already mentioned, are the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Lord President of the Council, and the Lord Privy Seal.

The first of these manages the estates and revenues of the Crown within the Duchy of Lancaster. He appoints the county court judges, borough magistrates and justices of the peace for Lancashire, and has a certain amount of ecclesiastical preferment in his gift.

The Lord President of the Council presides over the Privy Council. The secretarial staff of that body, for whom he is technically responsible, are concerned with the due publication of all Orders in Council.

The Lord Privy Seal is a very ancient office, but all its

duties were abolished in 1884. The post is sometimes given to an active politician in order that he may be free to devote his attention to a special question, but more often it is given to some distinguished statesman who through old age has become unequal to the performance of active administrative duties, the object being to secure to the Cabinet the general benefit of his advice and experience.

§ 99. Royal Commissions. It is noteworthy that many permanent departments of modern executive activity have been the outcome of temporary commissions of enquiry. Originally it was part of the prerogative of the Crown to hold "inquests" for the preservation of law and order. The abuse of this power under the Tudor and Stuart kings led to its curtailment, but the remaining right of enquiry has in the nineteenth century become an important parliamentary method of administration.

For legislation to be effective it is desirable that it should be drafted with full and complete knowledge of the conditions which it is to affect. Accordingly it has become customary to appoint Royal Commissions to enquire into the various social and administrative problems of the time. The commissioners are appointed by the Government of the day. They are usually selected on account of their peculiar fitness for the investigation proposed, and their chairman is invariably a well-known public man. They have powers to summon and examine witnesses. An exhaustive enquiry is made into the particular problem before the commission, and its result is embodied in a report. Frequently, preliminary reports are issued from time to time and the whole work of the commission is summarised in a final report. If there is any disagreement among the commissioners majority and minority reports may be made. These reports usually contain recommendations on which future legislation is based. Indeed, it is due to the fact that a large

amount of legislation at the present day is thus founded on a thorough and scientific investigation of the problem to be solved, that the present method of parliamentary legislation is at all tolerable. The reports of these commissions present "an inexhaustible supply of material for the legislator, the administrator and the student of English government in all its branches." Besides these Royal Commissions, Parliament can appoint Select Committees of Inquiry for similar purposes from among its own members, while the various Government departments have the power of appointing Inter-Departmental Commissions.

As has been stated, many of the Government departments have developed in this way. Commissioners have been appointed for a temporary purpose, but have become permanent. Examples of this tendency are to be found in the Commissioners of Poor Law and of Public Health, whose work is now carried on by the Local Government Board. The Commissioners for Light Railways, for Public Works Loans and for Railway and Canal Traffic are examples at the present day of the permanent type of commission, while temporary commissions are investigating the following among other subjects: Electoral Reform, Tuberculosis, the Church of England in Wales and Monmouthshire, Vivisection, the Land Transfer Acts, Shipping Rings, and Shipping Rates.



§ 100. The Committee of Imperial Defence as at present constituted only dates from 1902. It is composed of the Prime Minister, who acts as chairman, the Secretaries of State for War and India, the First Lord of the Admiralty and several other naval and military experts of high rank such as the Chief of the General Staff and the First Sea Lord. It is an elastic body and can summon to its councils persons with special knowledge of the problems to be considered. Thus Canadian ministers have attended its meetings.

Its duty is to determine the general policy of the country with regard to imperial and national defence. Permanent records of its decisions are kept, and continuity of policy is thus made possible. It might perhaps be described as a special committee of the Cabinet with power to co-opt suitable advisers. But it in no way relieves the Cabinet and the various ministers from responsibility for any action that may be taken.

§ 101. The Secretary of State for War is the minister primarily responsible to Parliament and the Crown for the efficiency and control of the army. The appointment of a separate Secretary of State to deal with the army alone dates from 1854. Although called Secretary for War he has no control or jurisdiction over naval matters. He is

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