chief lord common justiciar
JUSTICE, in law, has long been the official title of the judges of two of the English superior courts of common law, and it is now extended to all the judges in the Supreme Court of Judicature - a judge in the High Court of Justice being styled Mr Justice, and in the Court of Appeal Lord Justice. Before the Judicature Act the Queen's Bench and the Common Pleas were each presided over by a lord chief justice, and the lord chief justice of the Queen's Bench was nominal head of all the three courts, and held the title of Lord Chief Justice of England. The titles of Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and Lord Chief Baron have recently been abolished, and all the common law divisions of the High Court are united into the Queen's Bench division, the president of which is the lord chief justice of England.
The lord chief justice of England or of the Queen's Bench traces his descent from the justiciar of the Norman kings. This officer appears first as the lieutenant or deputy of the king, exercising all the functions of the regal office in the absence of the sovereign. "In this capacity William FitzOsbern, the steward of Normandy, and Odo of Bayeux, acted during the Conqueror's visit to the Continent in 1067; they were left, according to William of Poitiers, the former to govern the north of England, the latter to hold rule in Kent, vice sea ; Florence of Worcester describes them as ' " custodes Anglim," and Ordericus Vitalis gives to their office the name of " prmfectura." It would seem most probable that William Fitz-Osbern at least was left in his character of steward, and that the Norman seneschalship was thus the origin of the English justiciarship," Stubbs's Constitutional History, vol. i. p. 346. The same authority observes that William of Warenne and Richard of Bienfaite, who were left in charge of England in 1074, are named by a writer in the next generation " prmcipui Anglim justitiarii"; but he considers the name to have not yet been definitely attached to any particular office, and that there is no evidence to show that officers appointed to this trust exercised any functions at all when the king was at home, or in his absence exercised supreme judicial authority to the exclusion of other high officers of the court. The office became permanent in the reign of William Rufus, and in the hands of Ranulf Flambard it became coextensive with the supreme powers of government. For some time, however, the title of justiciar seems not to have been definitely appropriated to this high minister. Judges of the curia regis were occasionally so named, and it was not till the reign of Henry II. that the chief officer of the crown acquired the exclusive right to the title of capitalis or totius Anglite justitiarius. Canon Stubbs considers that the English form of the office is to be accounted for by the king's desire to prevent the administration falling into the hands of an hereditary noble. The early justiciars were clerics, in whom the possession of power could not become hereditary. The justiciar continued to be the chief officer of state, next to the king, until the fall of Hubert de Burgh (in the reign of King John), described by Mr Stubbs as the last of the great justiciars. Henceforward, according to Mr Stubbs, the office may be regarded as virtually extinct, or it may be said to have survived only in the judicial functions, which were merely part of the official character of the chief justiciar. He was at the head of the curia regis, which was separating itself into the three historical courts of common law about the time when the justiciarship was falling from the supreme place. The chancellor took the place of the justiciar in council, the treasurer in the exchequer, while the two offshots from the curia regis, the Common Pleas and the Exchequer, received chiefs of their own. The Queen's Bench represented the original stock of the curia regis, and its chief justice the great justiciar. The justiciar may, therefore, be said to have become from a political a purely judicial officer. A similar development awaited his successful rival the chancellor.
The lord chief justice is, next to the lord chancellor, the highest judicial dignitary in the kingdom, The office is generally the prize of the chief law officer of the Govern' went, and political considerations, therefore, enter largely 1 into the appointment. But the chief justices have been generally worthy of their great position. The list of them contains the names of some of the greatest masters of the common law, among whom pre-eminent rank must be assigned to Hale, Coke, Holt, Mansfield, and Cockburn. Lord Campbell has written the Lives of the Chief Justices, in 3 vols. A list of the lords chief justices will be found in Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1851. Robert de Bras, said by Fox to be the first judge who took the distinctive title of lord chief justice of the King's Bench (1268), was the grandfather of Robert the Bruce, king of Scotland.
In the United States the supreme court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, any five of whom make a quorum. The salary of the chief justice is $10,500, and that of the associates $10,000.