Shire Hall witnesses appointment of Andrew Manning-Cox as new High Sheriff of Worcestershir
Well-known lawyer and businessman Andrew Manning-Cox has been appointed High Sheriff of Worcestershire.
His formal appointment, the first before an audience in public for three years, took place on Wednesday 13 April at the Shire Hall where he made his Declaration before the President of the Family Division, the Rt Hon Sir Andrew McFarlane.
He takes over the role from Richard Amphlett.
The office of High Sheriff is an independent, non-political Royal appointment for a period of one year. After the monarchy, it is the oldest secular office in the country, dating back to before the Norman Conquest.
The role is voluntary and today is largely ceremonial but carries the status of being the Queen’s highest judicial officer in the county and involves a mix of ceremonial, charitable and community functions.
Andrew Manning Cox said: “I am very honoured to be invited to take up the office of High Sheriff and am looking forward to immersing myself in all the valuable work going on across Worcestershire, whether carried out by our emergency and health services, or the increasingly vital charity sector.
“My year of office also provides the opportunity to raise funds for the High Sheriff’s charity within the Worcestershire Community Foundation which does so much to support families and individuals across the county.”
Married with two adult children, Andrew Manning-Cox has lived in south Worcestershire for over 40 years, and he said his time as High Sheriff would enable him learn more about the needs of the whole county and promote the achievements and aspirations of so many people whose efforts deserve more recognition.
He qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and became a partner in 1985 at leading lawyers Wragge & Co LLP, now known as international law firm Gowling WLG (UK) LLP.
He retired in 2018 from the partnership but has kept busy in a variety of roles across Worcestershire.
He is a non-executive director at leading Midlands law firm Thursfields Solicitors and is also on the board of Worcestershire County Cricket Club.
He is chairman of Sanctuary Group, which is based in Worcester and is one of the UK’s largest housing and care providing charities, responsible for some 110,000 housing units, 65,000 student accommodation units and 100 care homes.
He chairs the Hereford Enterprise Zone and is a board member of the Marches LEP. He also sits as an Arbitrator and Mediator, and is a Notary Public.
His previous non-executive director roles include a seat on the board of Malvern Hills Science Park.
He said: “I look forward to a voyage of discovery, supporting the judiciary and blue light services in the county and learning more about the vital role played by our public services and voluntary sector in caring for our community.”
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THE OFFICE OF THE HIGH SHERIFF
The Office of the High Sheriff is over 1,000 years old and is the oldest continuous secular office under the Crown.
The origins of the Office data back to Saxon times when the ‘Shire Reeve’ was responsible to the King for the maintenance of law and order within the Shire, or county, and for the collection and return of taxes due to the Crown. Today, there are 55 High Sheriffs serving the counties of England and Wales each year.
Originally the Office held many of the powers now vested in Lord-Lieutenants, High Court Judges, Magistrates, Local Authorities, Coroners and even the Inland Revenue. They could raise the hue and cry after criminals and keep the King’s peace by mobilising the full military force of the County – the posse comitatus.
The High Sheriff is still the Sovereign’s representative in the County for matters relating to the Judiciary and the maintenance of law and order.
High Sheriffs are responsible in the counties of England and Wales for duties conferred by the Crown through Warrant from the Privy Council including: attendance at Royal visits to the County, the well-being and protection of Her Majesty’s High Court Judges when on Circuit in the County, and attending them in court during legal terms; acting as the Returning Officer for Parliamentary Elections in the County constituencies; responsibility for the proclamation of the accession of a new Sovereign; and the maintenance of the loyalty of subjects of the Crown.
High Sheriffs are encouraged to undertake duties to improve and sustain the morale of those in the voluntary and statutory sectors, particularly those engaged in the maintenance and extension of law and order, and with the entire criminal system, in particular in the field of reduction of crime and the development of an anti-crime culture among the community.
It is an independent, non-political and unpaid Office which enables the incumbent to bring together a wide variety of individuals for the benefit of the community.
A High Sheriff is nominated by a selection panel; there is an annual nomination ceremony in November each year in the Royal Courts of Justice when the names are put forward.
Subsequently, the annual appointment of High Sheriffs is made by the Sovereign at a meeting of the Privy Council, when the custom of “pricking” the appointee’s name with a bodkin is perpetuated.
The High Sheriff takes up appointment upon making a sworn declaration in terms dictated by the Sheriffs Act 1887 in the presence of one of the Judges of her Majesty’s High Court or a Justice of the Peace.
There is no bar to any suitable person becoming a High Sheriff.