Diary of a high street conveyancer; 12th September 2022

Once again, there is so much I could write about this week, and I even wondered whether or not to write out of respect to the late Queen. However, this afternoon, I went to the local town square to hear the Proclamation.

As a Solicitor of the Supreme Court, my profession is steeped in tradition. My name is on the Roll of Solicitors and I was admitted in 1990 by Lord Donaldson. The Master of the Rolls before Lord Donaldson was Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls after Lord Donaldson was Sir Thomas Bingham – all distinguished lawyers.

The official title of the Master of the Rolls is the Keeper or Master of the Rolls and Records of the Chancery of England. He is the President of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales, and is second in seniority only to the Lord Chief Justice. It is thought that the position dates back to at least 1286, but it is believed that the office may have existed even earlier than that.

The Master of the Rolls was initially a clerk responsible for keeping the “Rolls” or records of the Court of Chancery, and was known as the Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery. The Keeper was the most senior of the dozen Chancery clerks, and as such occasionally acted as keeper of the Great Seal of the Realm. The post evolved into a judicial one with the first reference to judicial duties dating from 1520.

So, working within a profession so steeped in tradition, I felt it only right to listen to the Proclamation and marvel at how such historical traditions still take place today.

I marvelled at how, in the past, this was the way in which the public would have found out about the death of the Monarch – the local councillors and dignitaries were in full dress befitting their rank, and there was a feel of history about the occasion. Never before have I shouted “long live the King”, but on reflection , I do not ever recall shouting “long live the Queen”. Never before have I shouted “Hip Hip Hooray” for the Monarch of the day.

Over the next few days, I am sure that we will all be surprised at times by the tradition and history, but there is something comforting about it. Like so many others, I have only ever known the Queen as our monarch, as she was already the Queen when I was born. I thought of the significance of her name – Elizabeth was the name of my paternal grandmother and is a name which has been given as a middle name to many girls in my family.

Law is a mix of the past and present, and we should celebrate the way in which we incorporate modern ways of working into a profession so steeped in tradition. The Queen set an example to us all; she was a mix of the past and present and achieved the mix perfectly. She will be missed.

Long live the King!

This is written by a real high street conveyancer who wishes to remain anonymous. Read more in Today’s Conveyancer every week.

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