Recorder of London

The Recorder of London is an ancient legal office in the City of London. The Recorder of London is the senior circuit judge at the Central Criminal Court (the Old Bailey), hearing trials of criminal offences. The Recorder is appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the City of London Corporation with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor. The Recorder's deputy is the Common Serjeant of London, appointed by the Crown on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor. The Recorder of London is, since 14 April 2020, Mark Lucraft.[1]


The Central Criminal Court, commonly called the Old Bailey after the street which it fronts.

The first Recorder of London was appointed in 1298. Originally it seems likely that the Recorder would have recorded pleas in the court of the Lord Mayor and the aldermen and delivered their judgments. A charter granted by Henry VI in 1444 appointed the Recorder ex officio a conservator of the peace. The Recorder increasingly exercised judicial functions thereafter, eventually becoming the principal judge in the City of London.

The Recorder became a judge at the Central Criminal Court when it was created by Parliament in 1834. The Central Criminal Court became part of the Crown Court under the Courts Act 1971, but the Recorder maintained their position when the office of recorder in other cities became honorary.


In addition to hearing criminal trials at the Central Criminal Court, the Recorder of London heads up court list management (including allocation of cases) to the court's judges. The Recorder also provides legal advice to the Lord Mayor and the Court of Aldermen.

The Recorder has a traditional costume and takes charge of the election of the Lord Mayor of London, declares the result, and physically presents the new Lord Mayor for the monarch's approval, first to the Lord Chancellor, and then to the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls (at the Royal Courts of Justice on the day of the Lord Mayor's Show). On the occasion of a state visit, the Recorder usually presents an Address of Welcome on behalf of the City.

The Recorder of London is the returning officer at the election of the verderers of Epping Forest, and is usually appointed High Steward of Southwark, appointed by the Court of Aldermen, holding the sitting of the three courts leet of the City's (largely ceremonial) manors there each year.

The Recorder can act as the deputy of the Common Serjeant in the election of the Sheriff and their presentation to the King's Remembrancer at the Quit Rent ceremony.

List of Recorders of LondonEdit

(before 1495 may not be complete)


  1. ^ "Chief Coroner of England and Wales appointed as next Recorder of London".
  2. ^ According to Henry Machyn, Cholmley's funeral (as Recorder) was in 1563. See J.G. Nichols (ed.), The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, Camden Society (London 1848), Original Series Vol. XLII, p. 307.
  3. ^ "Warrants Under the Royal Sign Manual".