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The Lord Lyon King of Arms, the head of Lyon Court, is the most junior of the Great Officers of State in Scotland and is the Scottishmarker official with responsibility for regulating heraldry in that country, issuing new grants of arms, and serving as the judge of the Court of the Lord Lyon, the oldest heraldic court in the world that is still in daily operation. The post was in the early nineteenth century held by an important nobleman, the Earl of Kinnoull, whose functions were in practice carried out by the Lyon-Depute. The practice of appointing Lyon-Deputes, however, ceased in 1866.

The Lord Lyon is responsible for overseeing state ceremonial in Scotland, for the granting of new arms to persons or organisations, and for confirming proven pedigrees and claims to existing arms.

As Lyon Court is a government department, fees paid for granting coats of arms are paid to the Treasury. The misuse of arms is a criminal offence in Scotland, and treated as tax evasion. Prosecutions are brought before Lyon Court, Lord Lyon being the sole judge. Appeals from the Lyon Court can be made to the Court of Sessionmarker in Edinburgh, and ultimately to the House of Lordsmarker in Londonmarker, following standard legal practice. There is no appeal if the Lord Lyon refuses to grant a coat of arms, as this is not a judicial function, but an exercise of his Ministerial function, although an appeal by way of judicial review may succeed if it can be shown that the Lord Lyon acted unreasonably.

The Lord Lyon has several English equivalents:



  • The Lord Lyon is the heraldic authority for Scotland, much as the English Kings of Arms are responsible for granting arms in England.


  • Lord Lyon is Scotland's only "King of Arms", or high heraldic officer. England has three: the Garter Principal, the Clarenceux (responsible for southern England), and the Norroy and Ulster (responsible for northern England and Northern Ireland). Unlike the English Kings of Arms, who cannot grant arms without a warrant from the (English) Earl Marshal, Lyon does not need permission, but grants by his own power.


  • Whilst in England the Court of Chivalry (which last met in 1954) is a civil court, in Scotland the Lyon Court meets often and has criminal jurisdiction. Lord Lyon is empowered to have assumed coats of arms, and whatever they are affixed to, destroyed. As an example, when Leithmarker Town Hall, now used as a police station, was renovated during the 1990s, several of the coats of arms decorating the Council Chamber were found to be attributed to the wrong person. The police were given special permission to retain the display, on condition that the tourist guides pointed out the historical anomalies.


The Lord Lyon is also one of the few individuals in Scotland officially permitted to fly the "Lion Rampant", the Royal Standard of Scotland.

List of Office Holders

The arms of office for the Lord Lyon King of Arms, as painted by Alexander Liptak.
(incomplete)

References

  1. [1] The Court of the Lord Lyon website


External links




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