chief baron

Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer

Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer was the first "baron" (i.e., judge) of the Exchequer of pleas. "In the absence of both the Treasurer of the Exchequer or First Lord of the Treasury, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was he who presided in the equity court and answered the bar i.e. spoke for the court." Practically speaking he held the most important office of the Exchequer of pleas.

The chief baron along with the three puisne barons, sat as a court of common law, heard suits in the court of equity, and settled revenue disputes.

From 1550-1579, there was a major distinction between the chief baron and the second, third and fourth puisne barons. The difference was in social status and education. All of the chief barons had been trained as lawyers in the inns of court. With the exception of Henry Bradshaw and Sir Clement Higham, both barristers-at-law, all of the chief barons who served Queen Elizabeth I, had attained the highest and most prestigious rank of a lawyer, serjeant-at-law.

Chief Barons of the Exchequer


  • Bryson, W., The equity side of the Exchequer; Its jurisdiction, administration, procedures, and records; York prize essay for 1973.
  • Walker, David M., The Oxford Companion to Law, Appendix I, list of Chief Barons 1660-1880
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