1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Recorder (legal officer)

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RECORDER, in its original sense, one who sets down or records. Hence applied to a person with legal knowledge who was appointed by the mayor and aldermen to “record” or keep in mind the proceedings of their court, as well as the customs of the city. The word is now chiefly used of the principal legal officer of a city or borough having a separate court of quarter sessions. He must be a barrister of five years' standing, appointed by the crown and holding office during good behaviour, and receiving “such yearly salary, not exceeding that stated in the petition on which the grant of a separate court of quarter sessions was made,” as the sovereign directs (Municipal Corporations Act 1882, s. 163). The recorder holds, once in every quarter of a year, or oftener, if he thinks fit, a court of quarter sessions in and for the borough. He is sole judge of the court, “having cognizance of all crimes, offences, and matters cognizable by courts of quarter sessions for counties in England,” except that he may not allow or levy any borough rate, or grant licences (s. 165). He is not eligible to serve in parliament for the borough, or to be an alderman or councillor, or stipendiary magistrate for the borough, though he may be revising barrister and is eligible to serve in Parliament except for the borough. He may be appointed recorder for two or more boroughs conjointly. He may, in case of sickness or unavoidable absence, appoint in writing a barrister of five years' standing to act as deputy recorder for him. A recorder is ex officio a justice for the borough.

The recorder of London is judge of the lord mayor 's court, and one of the commissioners of the central criminal court. His salary is £4000 a year. He is appointed by the lord mayor and aldermen, but by the Local Government Act 1888, s. 42, sub-s. 14, after the vacancy next after the beginning of the act, no recorder may exercise any judicial function unless he is appointed by the sovereign to exercise such function. See Quarter Sessions, Court of.