History of the QLTR


The post of QLTR was created in 1837 by the amalgamation of two existing posts created in 1707 - the King's/Queen's Remembrancer and the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer. At one time the Sovereign's, and later the UK Government's, finances were administered by the Treasury. The Treasury's Scottish agent was the QLTR, and therefore the QLTR came under the direct control of the Treasury Commissioners. The Treasury established the Exchequer Office for Scotland in Edinburgh, essentially as a revenue collecting office, and the QLTR was at its head. As the opportunities for collecting revenue on behalf of the Crown in Scotland increased so did the functions of the QLTR, particularly in the 19th century. Among other duties, the QLTR was made responsible for collecting fines and for supervising the funding of the Scottish court system.

In the 1970s, the function of financing that court system was transferred to the Secretary of State for Scotland, and in 1981 the QLTR's functions of paying judicial salaries and funding the prosecution service were transferred to the Lord Advocate. The Exchequer Office was itself therefore closed in 1981 - but the post of QLTR was retained for the specific purpose of the QLTR dealing, on behalf of the Crown, with matters of bona vacantia, ultimus haeres and Treasure Trove, all three of which are based on the common law principle relating to ownerless goods - Quod nullius est fit domini regis - which means - That which belongs to no one becomes the King's.

In 1981, the Treasury Commissioners decided that the post of QLTR should in future be held by whoever held the position in Scotland of Crown Agent. This dual appointment still operates, although since devolution the QLTR has been under the direction of Scottish Ministers rather than the Treasury Commissioners.

In terms of the Scotland Act 1998, the Crown's property rights in ownerless goods and the revenues raised from them were transferred to Scottish Ministers. Consequently all net receipts of the QLTR office have since devolution been paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund, rather than being transferred to the Treasury in London as used to be the case.