Time to Abolish the Duchy of Lancaster

Graham S McBain


The duchy of Lancaster is one of two duchies left in England – the other being the duchy of Cornwall. Lancaster was likely an honour prior to 1066; it became a county palatine in 1267 and a duchy in 1351. As such, it has been held by the sovereign separate to the Crown – a legal estate which passes from one sovereign to another as a form of inheritance. The purpose of this article is to consider the legal status of the duchy in modern times. Also, the various Crown prerogatives which have been franchised to it as well as other privileges it has acquired over the centuries. This article concludes that the duchy should be abolished and its property transferred to the Crown Estate, since it no longer has any true legal purpose.This would not only be to the benefit of the sovereign, it would ensure easier administration, greater financial clarity and the abolition of obsolete laws,courts and sinecures.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/res.v5n4p172

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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