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The Lieutenancies Act 1997 (1997 c. 23) is an Act of Parliament in the United Kingdom, that defines areas that Lord-Lieutenants are appointed to in Great Britain. It came into force on 1 July 1997.

Creation of modern local government[]

Prior to the Local Government Act 1888, a Lord-Lieutenant was appointed to each of the counties. However this Act redefined the areas to be combinations of the new administrative counties and county boroughs. In practice the effect was quite minor, with only a few border differences between the historic and new administrative counties.

These areas changed little until the 1965 creation of Greater London and Huntingdon and Peterborough, which resulted in the abolition of the offices of Lord Lieutenant of Middlesex, Lord Lieutenant of the County of London and Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire and the creation of the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London and Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdon and Peterborough.

Local government re-organisation[]

In 1974, administrative counties and county boroughs were abolished in England and Wales, and a major reform took place. At this time, Lieutenancy was redefined to use the new metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties directly. A year later the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 came info force, but this Act redefined the Lieutenancies not to be based on the new Scottish Regions, but an approximation of the traditional counties in some places and entirely new creations in others.

The effect of both Acts was the creation of a whole set of new Lieutenancies that were not based on traditional counties in any way.

Many of these Lieutenancies did not last long, however. By the mid-1990s, another local government reorganisation was underway and many of the non-metropolitan counties in England were re-organised, resulting in the creation of unitary authorities. Local government in Scotland and Wales moved to a system based entirely on unitary authorities.

At this time plans were drawn up for the Lieutenancies Act which would separate the Lieutenancy areas from being directly based on local government areas again. Although the term is not actually used in the Act, the areas it covers have come to be known as "ceremonial counties".

Passage through Parliament[]

The Lieutancies Bill was introduced in the House of Lords by the Lord Chancellor in January 1997, as a consolidation bill, to simplify and replace earlier legislation.[1] It had its second reading soon afterwards.[2][3] As a consolidation bill it was not subject to debate in the Commons at the second and third readings.[4]

Lieutenancy areas[]

  • In England the "ceremonial counties" are defined in terms of local government areas created by the Local Government Act 1972 as amended.
  • In Scotland the ceremonial areas as defined by statutory instrument. The current such one being The Lord-Lieutenants (Scotland) Order 1996, Statutory Instrument 1996 No. 731 (S.83)
  • In Wales they are defined as the "preserved counties" — currently defined as combinations of local government areas by the Preserved Counties (Amendment to Boundaries) (Wales) Order 2003, Statutory Instrument 2003 No. 974 (W.133).

See also[]


  1. ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, 13 January 1997, column 19.
  2. ^ Parliamentary Debates, House of Lords, January 20, 1997, columns 384–385.
  3. ^ Parliamentary Debates, {{{house}}}, 3 March 1997, columns 1503–1504.
  4. ^ Parliament: Consolidation Bill

External links[]

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