High Court: Ceremonies
Andrew MacKinlay (Thurrock, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the purpose was of the ceremony he attended at the High Court on 4 July; what undertakings he gave; what oaths he swore; and if he will make a statement.
Jack Straw (Lord Chancellor, Ministry of Justice; Blackburn, Labour)
I John Whitaker Straw do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law.
I John Whitaker Straw do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second in the Office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain.
The new Oath:
I John Whitaker Straw, do swear that in the Office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain I will respect the rule of law, defend the independence of the judiciary and discharge my duty to ensure provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts for which I am responsible. So help me God.
Prior to the coming into force of the CRA 2005 the Oaths taken, were those prescribed in Part 1 of the 1868 Act. The Oath of Allegiance and Official Oath are still taken in accordance with sections 2, 3 and 5 of the 1868 Act. However the requirement that the Lord Chancellor take the Judicial Oath in the form prescribed by section 6 and the second part of the Schedule to the 1868 Act was obviated by section 17 and Schedule 17 of the CRA 2005 which prescribed a new Oath as set out earlier in this answer. The long-standing format of the ceremonial was therefore amended to take account of the legislative changes which reflect the fact that the holder of the office of Lord Chancellor is no longer head of the judiciary and safeguards the interests of the judiciary as set out in the new Oath.