Appointing a High Sheriff


Each year in April, a High Sheriff is appointed for a county. The process to being appointed a High Sheriff begins with three potential High Sheriffs being nominated for each county, these are put forward in a meeting of the Lords of Council in the Queen's Bench division of the High Court of Justice. Nominations to the Office of High Sheriff are then dealt through the Presiding Judge and the Privy Council for consideration.

Pricking Process

The selection is then made annually in a meeting with the Privy Council by the Sovereign when the custom of 'pricking' the appointee's name with a bodkin is perpetuated. 

After the 'pricking' process of the High Sheriff, a Warrant of Appointment is send by the Clerk of the Privy Council in the following terms:

‘WHEREAS HER MAJESTY was this day pleased, by and with the advice of HER PRIVY COUNCIL, to nominate you for, and appoint you to be HIGH SHERIFF of the COUNTY OF...during HER 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 HER MAJESTY’S PLEASURE, whereof you are duly to answer according to law.’


The High Sheriff usually takes their 12 month appointment in April of each year with the making of a sworn declaration in terms set out by the Sheriffs Act 1887 before a High Court Judge. In 2020 however, many High Sheriff's had to embrace modern technology to complete their declarations while following the lockdown protocols during the Covid-19 health crisis. You can watch a video of Mark's declaration on his Facebook.

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