Coronet of a baron - link to home pageUnited Kingdom peerage creations 1801 to 2020: a list compiled by David Beamish

A note on the legislation relating to Lords of Appeal in Ordinary 1876–2009


This note accompanies a list of appointments of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary from 1876 to 2009.

The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 created a new framework for appeals to the House of Lords. Section 6 provided for the appointment of two Lords of Appeal in Ordinary "for the purpose of aiding the House of Lords in the hearing and determination of appeals". Two further appointments were authorised (by section 14) after the resignation or death of certain paid judges of the Privy Council:

"Be it enacted, that whenever any two of the paid Judges of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council have died or resigned, Her Majesty may appoint a third Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in addition to the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary herein-before authorised to be appointed, and on the death or resignation of the remaining two paid Judges of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council Her Majesty may appoint a fourth Lord of Appeal in Ordinary in addition to the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary aforesaid; and may from time to time fill up any vacancies occurring in the offices of such third and fourth Lord of Appeal in Ordinary."

Lords of Appeal in Ordinary were, under section 6, to be peers for life:

"Every Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, unless he is otherwise entitled to sit as a member of the House of Lords, shall by virtue and according to the date of his appointment be entitled during his life to rank as a Baron by such style as Her Majesty may be pleased to appoint, and shall during the time that he continues in his office as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, and no longer, be entitled to a writ of summons to attend, and to sit and vote in the House of Lords; his dignity as a Lord of Parliament shall not descend to his heirs."

The first appointee, Lord Blackburn, accordingly ceased for a short time to be a member of the House of Lords on his retirement in 1887; but the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1887, section 2, provided that Lords of Appeal in Ordinary – including those already appointed – should be entitled to membership of the House for life.

The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1913, section 1, increased the permitted total number of Lords of Appeal in Ordinary from four to six. The Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1929, section 2, authorised a seventh, and the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1947, section 1, increased the maximum from seven to nine. The Administration of Justice Act 1968, section 1, increased the maximum to eleven, and provided that further increases might be authorised by Order in Council. The Maximum Number of Judges Order 1994 [SI 1994 No. 3217] increased the maximum to twelve.

The Appellate Jurisdiction Acts 1876, 1887 and 1947 were repealed by Schedule 18 to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 with effect from 1 October 2009 (Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (Commencement No. 11) Order 2009).

The 1876 Act (section 7) provided for a pension to be granted by letters patent. The Judicial Pensions Act 1959, sections 1 to 3, applied to Lords of Appeal in Ordinary the general regulations for judicial retirement, subject to an option for existing office-holders. Until then each pension awarded was the subject of letters patent and was gazetted. See also the Administration of Justice Act 1973 c. 15, section 11 & Schedule 4.

Last updated: 24 March 2020.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional