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In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is a military commission and one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county.

In titles, the postnominal letters DL may be added; e.g. John Brown, CBE, DL. However, it is generally omitted if the subject has many honours and titles. The relevant Act of Parliament is the Lieutenancies Act 1997. Deputy lieutenants are chosen by the local Lord-Lieutenant, to assist them with any of their duties as may be required. They receive their commission only when the appropriate Minister communicates that Her Majesty The Queen does not disapprove of the appointment.[1] In England and Wales, since November 2001, the appropriate Minister is the Lord Chancellor.[2] In Scotland, since July 1999 it has been the Scottish Ministers.[3]

Today, the maximum number of Deputy Lieutenants allowed in a county may be well over a dozen; a century ago the City of Birmingham had three or so Lieutenants working alongside the Lord Lieutenant. The number of DLs today is still related to the population of that county. DLs tend to be people who either have served the local community, or have a history of service in other fields.[4] They may represent the Lord Lieutenant in his or her absence. This would include local ceremonies and official events, from opening exhibitions to inductions of vicars.

DLs must live within the county, or within seven miles (11 km) of the boundary.[5] Their appointment does not terminate with the changing of the Lord Lieutenant.[6] They usually retire at age 75.

One of the serving Deputy Lieutenants is appointed as Vice Lord Lieutenant,[7] and under most circumstances will stand in for the Lord Lieutenant when he or she cannot be present. The appointment as Vice Lord Lieutenant does, however, end when the Lord Lieutenant who made the appointment leaves his or her post.[8]

Unlike the position of Lord Lieutenant, which is an appointment (gift) by the Sovereign, the position of Deputy Lieutenant is an appointment of the Sovereign's appointee, the Lord Lieutenant, and not a direct appointment of the Sovereign.

See also


  1. Lieutenancies Act 1997 (c. 23), section 2(4). Retrieved 2010-02-01.
  2. The Transfer of Functions (Miscellaneous) Order 2001 (SI 2001/3500).
  3. The Scotland Act 1998 (Transfer of Functions to the Scottish Ministers etc.) Order 1999 (SI 1999/1820).
  4. Lieutenancies Act 1997, section 2(2)(a).
  5. Lieutenancies Act 1997, section 2(2)(b)
  6. Lieutenancies Act 1997, section 2(5).
  7. Lieutenancies Act 1997, section 3.
  8. Lieutenancies Act 1997, section 3(2).

External links

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