Selection and Appointment

How They Are Appointed

How High Sheriffs are Appointed:

In recent history it has been the duty of the High Sheriff to nominate a successor, it was customary for the office to be passed between friends and acquaintances. But in 2008, the Justice Selection Committee of the House of Commons identified that a more modern and open process of nomination was needed.

Within Shropshire we are keen to encourage a wider range of people to the Shrievalty and so invite nominations for the role of High Sheriff from suitably experienced members of the public to be sent to the High Sheriff for consideration by the Nominations Panel. If you would like to suggest an individual for consideration please in the first instance ask their permission and then email brief details to the High Sheriff

Criteria for candidates is as follows

They must live within the county.
They must be of good character.
They have demonstrated significant service to the wider ceremonial Shropshire community or a willingness to serve.
They have sufficient time and commitment to fulfil the highly time-demanding role for one year.

Some people cannot be appointed High Sheriff to ensure the essential requirement that it remains a non-political role:

Non-Eligibility for nomination and appointment of High Sheriffs under the Sheriffs Act of 1887

  • Peers of Parliament and Members of the House of Commons Welsh Assembly.
  • Full-time members of the Judiciary.
  • Special Commissioners.
  • Officers of Customs and Excise or Inland Revenue.
  • Officers of the Post Office.
  • Officers of the Navy, Army or Royal Air Force on full pay.

Nomination Panels

Comprising of a minimum of seven members, each Nomination Panel should be made up of a good mix of those connected with the current Shrievalty and representatives of the broader community, and include a good gender balance and an appropriate minority representation. The Nomination Panel meets twice yearly, in Spring and Autumn, and discussions are confidential with only the Under Sheriff taking minute notes of the meeting.

Possible candidates can be suggested by all panel members, and people can independently apply to the panel to be considered for the role. It remains the duty of the current High Sheriff to nominate a successor to take office in four years’ time, but the name must be already known to the nomination panel. Meetings are the platform for the current High Sheriff to substantiate why their candidate is best for the role, and to secure panel approval.

At the Autumn meeting, the High Sheriff will seek approval for their nomination, and once secured, the High Sheriff informs the Lord-Lieutenant of their choice. Once the Lord-Lieutenant has approved the nomination, the High Sheriff via the Under-Sheriff submits the nomination form to The Chief Clerk to the King’s Remembrancer at The Royal Courts of Justice. This must be submitted by January and the name remains undisclosed at this stage.

On 12 November each year in a meeting of the Lords of the Council in the King’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice presided over by the Lord Chief Justice, the names of the next of three prospective High Sheriffs for each County are made known. Many High Sheriffs in Nomination travel down to London to hear their name read out in such an incredible setting really is something very special to experience! So each November, the name of the person nominated to be High Sheriff in three years’ time is revealed. The nomination as High Sheriff is subsequently published in the London Gazette, and the individual is then known as a High Sheriff in Nomination.

Who will be High Sheriff of Shropshire next?


Mrs J M Trowbridge JP


Mrs Katy Tanner DL

High Sheriff in nomination

But being in nomination is not a guarantee of becoming High Sheriff; this only comes once the Pricking Ceremony takes place a month before the Declaration Ceremony which is normally in late March or early April each year. Whilst the nomination is now in the public domain, High Sheriffs in Nomination are not encouraged to advertise the fact and are expected to  be respectful of those in office before them so as not divert nor dilute their time in office.

The High Sheriffs Association provide workshops and seminars for those in nomination to prepare for their time in office, a highlight being the annual summer conference for nominees at Burleigh near Stamford. Not only fun to attend, these events are really beneficial to High Sheriffs in Nomination, and their partners, to learn so much from those who have served before and from speakers from all sorts of organisations and very importantly to meet others in nomination from around the country. Regional meetings are held annually to enable High Sheriffs in Nomination to get to know their ‘neighbours’ who will serve in the same year as you. Shropshire is in the West Midlands HSA region, along with Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands.

The famous Pricking Ceremony by The Sovereign

The famous Pricking Ceremony by The Sovereign for the selection of new High Sheriffs takes place in mid March each year, in a meeting of the Privy Council. This is when, on a vellum list of High Sheriffs due to take office that year, HM The King each pricks each name with a silver bodkin. There is a fascinating description as to why this is done on the High Sheriff Association website.

Following the ‘pricking’ of the High Sheriff in the Privy Council by the Sovereign, a Warrant of Appointment is sent by the Clerk of the Privy Council in the following terms:

‘WHEREAS HIS MAJESTY was this day pleased, by and with the advice of HIS PRIVY COUNCIL, to nominate you for, and appoint you to be HIGH SHERIFF of the COUNTY OF SHROPSHIRE during HIS MAJESTY’S PLEASURE: These are therefore to require you to take the Custody and Charge of the said COUNTY, and duly to perform the duties of HIGH SHERIFF thereof during HIS MAJESTY’S PLEASURE, whereof you are duly to answer according to law.’


Once ‘pricked’, you must take office within one month.

The Declaration

Each county has a slightly different tradition of how the new High Sheriff is inaugurated or declared. In Shropshire, there is no specific location, but the format followed is largely the same. It is at the invitation of the current High Sheriff that you attend this ancient ceremony and it tends to be slightly lower key than in other counties.

The major pomp, ceremony, velvet, ostrich feathers, swords, tights and trumpeters are reserved for the High Sheriff’s Legal Service which is at the end of the year in office and to which senior representatives from the military, civic leaders and the judiciary are invited alongside representatives of the community and voluntary sector and businesses who have supported the High Sheriff throughout their year.

“If you are a member of the judiciary or emergency services, either as a blue light or a volunteer and would like me to visit, please do let me know.”

– Brian Welti JP

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