Privileges of a Peer
Since I’ve been reviewing the laws pertaining to becoming a peer, I thought I’d do a quick post on some of the legalities of being a peer. All of these except the ones directly relating to Parliament also apply to peeresses, and continue to apply to them even after their husbands death (unless they marry a commoner).
Exemption from Summons as Witness. This also fell by the wayside.
Proxies. A peer can give his proxy to another lord of Parliament (this is how they can get out of attending every session).
Protest. This doesn’t mean leading a march in the streets, it means every peer has a right to enter is dissent into the Journals of the House.
Exemption from Jury Service. Self-explanatory.
Access to Sovereign. All peers are supposed to have personal access to the sovereign. Not sure how this works when they’re constantly being banned from court!
Scandalum Magnatum. A special provision made for punishment of those who make false statements concerning prelates, dukes, earls, barons, and other nobles and magnates.
Chaplains. A peer may appoint chaplains to the livings he controls.
Taking the King’s Deer. All of us who grew up loving Robin Hood know this one. Basically it said that any peer going to or coming from Parliament could take one or two deer from the King’s forests. This wasn’t still being practiced in the 18th and 19th centuries
Answering “on honour”. Peers do no swear an oath when called to testify in court. They answer upon their honour. This privilege is not longer in effect, but was during the Georgian/Regency period.