The Office was created in 1571. In its early years it was closely allied to the Monarch and the Court, and this is reflected in some of its functions today which include liaison between the City and the Royal Households. The Remembrancer is one of the City's four Law Officers and the Office is responsible for the maintenance and protection of the City’s constitution. He is the City's Parliamentary Agent and the Parliamentary Agent for the Honourable the Irish Society, and the City’s Chief of Protocol.
The Office acts as a channel of communication between Parliament and the City. In the contemporary context, this means day to day examination of Parliamentary business including examination of and briefing on proposed legislation and amendments to it, regular liaison with the Select Committees of both Houses and contact with officials in Government departments dealing with Parliamentary Bills. Liaison is also maintained with the City Office in Brussels and other Member States’ permanent representations in relation to draft EU legislation.
How long has Paul Double been the Remembrancer?
Paul Double has been the City Remembrancer since 2003. The Remembrancer is one of the City’s four Law Officers headed by the Recorder of London (the Senior Judge of the Old Bailey). He is a barrister and a Parliamentary Agent (a type of lawyer specially qualified to undertake Parliamentary work). He has spent over 30 years in this field and any individual who holds the Office must be similarly legally qualified.
What is the cost of running the Remembrancer’s Office? Are all of the costs paid for by the City of London?
The Remembrancer supervises an annual budget of approximately £5.3 million which covers all of the functions of his office, including costs associated with national and international events hosted by the City. The costs of the Remembrancer and his staff are paid wholly by the City of London Corporation. The permissive hire of parts of the Guildhall complex for other aspects defrays some of those costs.
Does the Remembrancer’s office ‘lobby’ on behalf of the City of London on financial/banking matters that come before Parliament?
The Remembrancer’s Office is the formal channel of communication between the City Corporation and Parliament, including on issues related to financial services and on many other subject areas too. Submissions are made to Select Committees and are published in their reports. Briefings may be supplied to Members of Parliament on issues of relevance to the City in the same manner as by any other individual or body seeking to put across a point of view. If the Remembrancer seeks a meeting with an individual Member, he will adopt the same approach as others and will request one. The Chairman of the City’s Policy and Resources Committee, an elected Member of the City Corporation, leads the City Corporation’s general political engagement.
Does the Remembrancer have a seat in the Chamber?
The Remembrancer is permitted to observe proceedings from the ‘Under Gallery’ (also known as ‘Under the Gallery’) which is on the opposite side to the Speaker. The Under Gallery is within the physical confines of the Commons but beyond the Bar of the House (as the other Galleries are). It gives no right whatever to participate in the proceedings of the House. The other Parliamentary Agents are also given access to the Under Gallery for the purposes of their work and visitors may sometimes sit there. The Remembrancer does not, as has sometimes been suggested, have a special place behind or near the Speaker’s chair.
What is the Remembrancer’s role in looking at legislation?
The Remembrancer examines a wide range of Parliamentary Bills and other Parliamentary papers in his role as the City’s Parliamentary Agent. The Remembrancer does not, however, have any special entitlement to see Parliamentary Bills or other papers before they are available publicly or to change or amend laws. Nor does his access to the Under Gallery give him any ability to participate in or influence the proceedings.
Why does the City of London have its own Parliamentary Agent if other local authorities do not?
In addition to its role as local authority for the Square Mile and playing a role in sustaining and promoting the City as the world leader in business services, the City of London has very wide ranging responsibilities in many fields. These responsibilities range from Charities, Education and Culture to the Environment, Open Spaces and Port Health for the whole tidal Thames. The activities are governed by an extensive body of legislation, much of which is specific in its application to the City. The Remembrancer’s Office is tasked with examining and reporting on this legislation. The fact that the City has its own Parliamentary Agent is a reflection of the complicated legal and constitutional framework within which it operates. The City also has certain ceremonial links which are attributable to the important role it has played in British constitutional history.
Why is he called the Remembrancer?
To keep matters in Remembrance. The Office was set up to act as the corporate memory and this is reflected today in his role of advising the City Corporation on constitutional issues.