To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(2) whether there has been any occasion when the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy has been granted by way of Letters Close (Litterae Clausae); and if he will make a statement;
(4) if he will place in the Library a copy of the guidance notes used in his Department and in the Office of the Lord President of the Council regarding the wording, drafting, formatting, production, approval and processing of Letters Patent.
There has been no one who has received a pardon within England and Wales by Letters Patent in the last 20 years. Neither have any Letters Close (or Litterae Clausae) been issued by the Crown Office during the last 25 years.
Letters Patent all pass under the Great Seal of the Realm and an entry for each is made in the Crown Office Docquet Book (a record which is designated for permanent preservation). A Patent Roll which sets out the text of the Letters Patent is also maintained by the Crown Office. The Patent Roll entries are sent annually to the National Archives for permanent preservation.
With regard to the final question, the wording, drafting, formatting, production, approval and processing of Letters Patent is governed by:
The Crown Office Act 1877;
The Great Seal Act 1884;
The Crown Office (Forms and Proclamations Rules) Order 1992 (SI 1992 No. 1730) as amended; and
The Crown Office (Preparation and Authentication of Documents Rules) Order 1988 (SI 1988 No. 1162).
An exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy is currently effected by means of Warrant under the Royal Sign Manual. A record is maintained of all such Warrants granted since the Lord Chancellor assumed responsibility for this remit from the Home Secretary and these records are transferred to the National Archives from time to time.