The Court of the Lord Lyon, also known as the Lyon Court, is a standing court of law which regulates heraldry in Scotland. Like the College of Arms inEngland it maintains the register of grants of arms, known as the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, as well as records of genealogies.
The Lyon Court is a public body, and the fees for grants of arms are paid to HM Treasury. It is headed by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, who must be legally qualified, as he has criminal jurisdiction in heraldic matters, and the court is fully integrated into the Scottish legal system, including having a dedicated prosecutor, known in Scotland as a Procurator Fiscal. This contrasts with England, where the College of Arms is a private body, and the Court of Chivalry, which is a civil court, has met only once in 230 years, in 1954 .
The head of the Lyon Court is Lord Lyon King of Arms. Only two of the office bearers work full time, the Lord Lyon King of Arms and the Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records, a post currently held by Elizabeth Roads, Carrick Pursuivant. The holders of these two positions are paid a salary as Crown officials. Up to six officers of arms in ordinary, heralds and pursuivants, assist these two officers, mostly in matters of state ceremonial.
From time to time, others can be appointed temporarily or as a recognition of their work. These are styled Herald or Pursuivant Extraordinary. In this way the previous Lord Lyon, Sir Malcolm Innes of Edingight, serves as Orkney Herald Extraordinary. Administrative support to the Lyon Court is provided by the Lyon Clerk and Keeper of the Records. Prosecutions for violations of heraldry are carried out by a Procurator Fiscal attached to the Lyon Court.
In Scotland there are also four private pursuivants that are independent of Lyon Court. These officers are employed by Scottish nobles and chiefs and perform duties relating to genealogical, heraldic, and ceremonial matters of clan members. For more information see Private Officer of Arms.