LETTERS PATENT (always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument
in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch ,
president , or other head of state, generally granting an office,
right, monopoly , title, or status to a person or corporation .
The opposite of letters patent are letters close (Latin : litterae
clausae), which are personal in nature and sealed so that only the
recipient can read their contents.
* 1 Meaning * 2 Usage * 3 Form of British letters patent creating peers * 4 Commonwealth realms
* 5 In the
* 5.1 Form of
* 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links
Litterae in Latin meant "that which is written" or "writing", in the sense of letters of the alphabet placed together in meaningful sequence on a writing surface, not a specific format of composition as the modern word "letter" suggests. Thus letters patent do not equate to an open letter but rather to any form of document, deed, contract, letter, despatch, edict, decree, epistle etc. made public.
They are called "letters" (plural) from their Latin name litterae patentes, used by medieval and later scribes when the documents were written in Latin, in the ancient sense of a collection of letters of the alphabet arranged to be read rather than in the modern sense of an "epistle" or item of correspondence: thus no singular form exists.
They can thus be contrasted with the
Act of Parliament
For the sake of good governance it is clearly of little use if the sovereign appoints a person to a position of authority if he does not at the same time inform those over whom such authority is to be exercised of the validity of the appointment.
According to the United Kingdom
Ministry of Justice , there are 92
different types of letters patent. The
FORM OF BRITISH LETTERS PATENT CREATING PEERS
The form of letters patent for creating peerages has been fixed by the Crown Office (Forms and Proclamations Rules) Order 1992 (SI 1992/1730). Part III of the schedule lays down nine pro forma texts for creating various ranks of the peerage, lords of appeal in ordinary, and baronets.
The following table organises the text from the letters patent by columns for each rank, with common text spanning multiple columns, depicting some of the similarities and differences among the proclamations. Gender-specific differences are highlighted in italics.
DUKES AND DUCHESSES MARQUESSES AND MARCHIONESSES EARLS AND COUNTESSES VISCOUNTS BARONS LIFE BARONS LIFE BARONESSES BARONETS LORDS OF APPEAL IN ORDINARY
"ELIZABETH THE SECOND by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen Head of the Commonwealth Defender of the Faith To all Lords Spiritual and Temporal and all other Our Subjects whatsoever to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting!
Know Ye that We of Our especial grace certain knowledge and mere motion Whereas Our (name of grantee in relevant courtly language) has resigned his Office of a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and the same is now vacant Now Know Ye that We of Our especial grace
in pursuance of the Life Peerages Act 1958 and of all other powers in that behalf us enabling
do by these Presents advance create and prefer Our:
* "trusty and well-beloved (counsellor) John Smith (created Baron, if Privy Councillor); * "right trusty and well-beloved cousin (and counsellor) John Smith (created Viscount, if PC) * "right trusty and entirely beloved cousin" (and counsellor) John Smith (created Earl or Marquess, if PC) * "right trusty and right entirely beloved cousin" (and counsellor) John Smith (created Duke, if PC)
to the state degree style dignity title and honour of do by these Presents erect appoint and create Our (name of grantee in relevant courtly language) to the dignity state and degree of a have in pursuance of the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 as amended by subsequent enactments nominated and appointed and by these Presents Do nominate and appoint Our (name of grantee in relevant courtly language) to be a
DUKE OF . MARQUESS OF . EARL . VISCOUNT (OF ) of in . BARON (OF ) of in . BARON (OF ) of in . BARONESS (OF ) of in . BARONET LORD OF APPEAL IN ORDINARY
And for Us Our heirs and successors do appoint give and grant unto him the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of by the style of
Duke of Marquess of Earl Viscount (of ) Baron (of ) Baroness (OF ) Baronet BARON
and by these Presents do dignify invest and ennoble him by girding him with a sword and putting a cap of honour and a coronet of gold on his head
and by giving into his hand a rod of gold
to have and to hold To hold
the said name state degree style dignity title and honour of the said name degree style dignity title and honour of
the said Office
Duke of Marquess of Earl
unto him and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten. unto him for his life. unto her for her life. unto him and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten and to be begotten. so long as he shall well behave himself therein subject to the provisions in the said Act mentioned
Willing and by these Presents granting for Us Our heirs and successors that he
and his heirs male aforesaid and every of them successively
and his heirs male aforesaid
may enjoy and use all the rights privileges with all wages profits privileges rank and precedence whatsoever to the said Office belonging or in anywise appertaining and to hold the said style of Baron unto him the said during his life.
pre-eminences immunities precedences
and advantages to the degree of
a Duke a Marquess an Earl a Viscount a Baron a Baronet
duly and of right belonging which
Dukes Marquesses Earls Viscounts Barons Baronets
of Our United Kingdom do at present use and enjoy.
In Witness whereof We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent. WITNESS Ourself at Westminster the nth day of in the xth year of Our Reign"
The words "may have hold and possess" to "his heirs male aforesaid successively" and "have heretofore used and enjoyed or as they" (shown in brackets above) were deleted for Dukes and Duchesses, Marquesses and Marchionesses, Earls and Countesses, Viscounts, and hereditary Barons by the Crown Office (Forms and Proclamations Rules) (Amendment) Order 2000.
In Commonwealth realms , letters patent are issued under the
prerogative powers of the head of state, as an executive or royal
prerogative . They are a rare, though significant, form of legislation
which does not require the consent of parliament .
IN THE UNITED STATES
The primary source of letters patent in the
In the United States, the forgery of letters patent granted by the
FORM OF UNITED STATES LETTERS PATENT
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, the undersigned , in accordance with , has in the name of the United States, Caused these letters to be made Patent and the Seal of to be hereunto affixed.
GIVEN under my hand, in the in the year of our Lord and of the
Independence of the
Land patent , in the United States
Letter of marque
Lettre de cachet
List of types of letters patent (British monarchy)
* ^ Cassell's Latin Dictionary, revised by Marchant & Charles,
* ^ Cassell's Latin Dictionary, op.cit., p.321
* ^ Cassell's Latin Dictionary, revised by Marchant Cicero: Dare
alicui literas (plur) ad aliquem: to give to a messenger a letter for
a third person"
* ^ E.g. document dated 13 July 1527 issued Teste Rege titled: "A
Proclamation for establishing of trade and merchandizing and traffique
within the towne and marches of Callice with divers immunities and
freedoms concerning the same", which is self-referenced in the
document by the phrase "by theis his lettres patentes of proclamacion"
Nichols, John Gough . The Chronicle of Calais from the Reigns of Henry
VII and Henry VIII to the year 1540, London, 1846 p.102
* ^ "