Each year the liveryman of the City’s Livery Companies meet in Guildhall to elect two sheriffs at an event called Common Hall. The usual arrangement is that one of the candidates for Sheriff is an Alderman and the other candidates (there can be multiple) are Liverymen. For those Aldermen intending to progress to the estate and dignity of the Lord Mayor, a year served as Sheriff is a mandatory prerequisite.
The Non-Aldermanic Sheriff is often referred to as the ‘Livery or Lay Sheriff’ in that any member of the Livery is entitled to stand for this office. In the event of a contested election, the Liverymen vote by a show of hands for their choice.
It also illustrates the importance of the Sheriff’s role as a conduit between the Livery, the Mayoralty and the City of London Corporation. The interrelationship between these three entities is complex and, like the shrievalty, has changed over the centuries. If the undoubted wealth of talent contained within these three entities is to be fully harnessed to the benefit of the City of London as a whole, there is a requirement to examine the willingness of all three parties to determine how better to utilise this potential.