High Sheriffs Awards
Welcome to the home page of the Berkshire High Sheriff's website.
C T K Khoo Esq
Bakers Barn, Touchen End, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 3LD
Tel: 01628 620470/671319
Fax: 01628 789934
Blandy & Blandy LLP
One Friar Street, Reading RG1 1DA
Tel: 0118 951 6800
Nomination for the Role of High Sheriff
Each County has a County Consultative Panel, to assist the serving High Sheriff, who has the authority to nominate a successor. He or she is also responsible for ensuring that there are at least three High Sheriffs in Nomination for the three years following his or her term of office.
In addition to the Lord Lieutenant or deputy, the Under Sheriff, the immediate past High Sheriff, and the next High Sheriff in Nomination, additional members independent of the shrievalty are invited to ensure that suitable candidates are suggested and considered.
Each November, on Martinmas’ Eve, (November 10th) the names of three persons who have been nominated for the role of High Sheriff for each county, are read out from the official Roll, by the Queen’s Remembrancer, in the Lord Chief Justice’s Court.
The proceedings are governed by The High Sheriffs Act 1887 (section 6), and take place in the presence of the Lord Chief Justice, a Lord Justice of Appeal (who is a member of the Privy Council) and two judges of the high court. Candidates are nominated for each county. The first person named serves as High Sheriff the following year, while the others should follow in succeeding years.
In March of the following year, parchments are presented to the Queen (who is also Duke of Lancaster) at a meeting of the Privy Council. The Sovereign signifies assent by pricking (i.e., piercing) the document with a silver bodkin beside the name of the High Sheriff for each county, and signs the parchment when complete.
The period in Nomination is a useful time, allowing the potential Sheriff to make visits and develop contacts. I have been able to attend the Ceremonial Services at the start of the Judicial year in Reading, Seminars for High Sheriffs at Burghley House, regional and National High Sheriff’s meetings, The Lord Lieutenant’s Award Ceremonies; and in the Community, the Mock Trials, and visits to the Berkshire Community Foundation, the Thames Valley Partnership, the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, the Slough Youth Offending Team, a citizenship ceremony in Bracknell Forest, and also the Padworth College Prize day. There have been several enjoyable receptions – during my year of office my enjoyment will be tempered by the need to give a speech!
This year, the Meeting of the Privy Council was held at Buckingham Palace on March 5th, and was followed by the issue of a Warrant of Appointment. Under Section 7 of the Sheriffs Act 1887, before taking office, the High Sheriff must make a declaration before a judge, and be sworn in. I made my declaration and was sworn in at the County Court, Reading, before Mr Justice Sweeney, on 31 March 2014.
“Pricking" is an ancient ceremony used to appoint the high sheriffs of England and Wales.
The annual nominations of three prospective High Sheriffs for each County are made in a meeting of the Lords of the Council in the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice presided over by the Lord Chief Justice on 12th November each year.
The following March, the names of those nominated are presented to the Sovereign at a meeting of the Privy Council. The Sovereign signifies assent by pricking (i.e., piercing) the document with a silver bodkin beside the name of the High Sheriff for each county, and signs the parchment when complete.
The practice of “Pricking” has been said to date back to the reign of Elizabeth I. She was embroidering when the roll was brought to her, and lacking a pen, she decided to use her bodkin to mark the name instead. Historically though, a Sheriff’s Roll exists from the reign of King Henry VIII, when the names were marked by pricking through vellum. Sheriffs have never had any financial support from the state, and were originally personally liable for any shortfall in the taxes they had to collect. Not every Sheriff was keen to be appointed, but a hole through the parchment next to the name could not be disguised!
By contrast, John Campbell, attorney General, and First Baron Campbell, said, perhaps tongue in cheek when Prince Albert asked
about the practice, "[it began] in ancient times, sir, when sovereigns did not know how to write their names."
Chris Khoo was “Pricked” as the current High Sheriff of Berkshire on March 5th, 2014, following which the Warrant of Appointment was issued.
High Sheriffs are sworn in at the start of their year of office, and make a public declaration pursuant to section 7 of the Sheriff’s Act. 1887.
I was sworn in on March 31st, 2014, at the Crown Court, in Reading, in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Mary Bayliss, High Court Judge, Sir Nigel Sweeney, the present High Sheriff, Professor Suzanna Rose, previous high sheriffs of the county, and Berkshire Mayors. Jonathan Gater was sworn for as further term as Under Sheriff. He is Managing Partner at the legal firm of Blandy and Blandy, who have been associated with the role for many years.
The Declaration which the incoming High Sheriff and Under Sheriff made ended with the promise that:
“I will truly and diligently execute the good Laws and Statutes of this Realm and in all things well and truly behave myself in my Office for the honour of the Queen and the good of Her subjects and discharge the same according to the best of my skill and
(from Left to Right) The Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Mary Bayliss; His Honour Mr Justice Sweeney; Chris Khoo, incoming High Sheriff; Mr Jonathan Gater, Under Sheriff; Councillor Marian Livingston, Mayor of Reading; Professor Suzanna Rose, outgoing High Sheriff; Councillor Jan Angell, Mayor of Bracknell Forest; and the Mayor of Wokingham, Councillor Cllr UllaKarin Clark.
About the High Sheriff of Berkshire
Christopher Khoo was sworn in as the High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire in the Crown Court, in Reading, Berkshire, on March 31st 2014.The role is now largely ceremonial, but carries the status of being the Queen’s highest judicial officer in the county.
Chris is a consultant plastic surgeon, for 25 years (at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Aylesbury, and then at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, from 1983) and he remains in independent practice locally.
Chris has been fully involved in Plastic Surgery nationally and internationally. He has been the President of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, Chairman of the Intercollegiate Board in Plastic Surgery of the Royal Surgical Colleges, an invited member of Council of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and has been awarded the personal Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (ad hominem). He represents Britain on the European and International Boards of Plastic Surgery, and is Chairman of the organising committee of the forthcoming 12th Quadrennial European Congress of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic surgery, to be held in Edinburgh this summer.
Naomi and Chris Khoo have three daughters and a son, all of whom are doctors.
What does a High Sheriff wear on formal occasions? In 1869 the Lord Chamberlain's office issued guidelines governing the wearing of Court Dress, which is still worn on formal occasions by male High Sheriffs. The uniform is tailored from black velvet, with a tail coat and knee length trousers, trimmed with cut steel buttons and a white lace jabot is worn at the neck with lace cuffs, and with black stockings. A sword is worn.
Previous High Sheriffs
2013/2014 High Sheriff
Prof S C Rose JP DL
2012/2013 High Sheriff
C D Brims Esq
2011/2012 High Sheriff
R B Woods Esq CBE
2010/2011 High Sheriff
Mrs C M Stevenson
2009/2010 High Sheriff
Dr C B T Hill Williams DL
2008/2009 High Sheriff
Dr C J Boulter