Investigations or legal proceedings involving titled Peers

(Inspired by an Agatha Christie story)

I’ve been listening Lord Edgeware Dies, which is mostly about the murder of the fourth Baron Edgeware. Naturally, this being a classic British mystery story, Edgeware’s nephew, now the fifth Baron Edgeware, is alternately a suspect or a witness. And this got me wondering: Do the courts and police have a standard way of referring to all the individuals involved, so that there’s no ambiguity?

And if you know the story, please don’t spoil it!

Do British lords have the right to be tried in front of a jury of their peers?

The son of a peer would usually have his own set of given names. Some would match his father’s, but there’s usually enough to differentiate.

Since there can only be one Baron Edgeware the current one is referred to using that title. The predecessor can be referred by number or more likely as “The late Baron Edgeware”.

Nope. Surrendered that right back in the 1930s.

But if you want a fictional account of a trial in the Lords, read “Clouds of Witnesses” by Dorothy L. Sayers.

I rather think you mean 1948. (There had been an earlier attempt to change the law, but it did not receive the consent of both houses of Parliament.)

The last actual trial was in 1935

But that’s exactly it. When the head of the family dies, his title goes to his heir, effectively a name change. Where the peer in question has a higher rank than Baron or Viscount* than his eldest son is usually Viscount X or Baron X, and at the ranks of marquess or duke the eldest son might be Earl of X and the eldest son’s eldest son is Viscount or Baron X. So when the Duke of Z is murdered his son and grandson both assume higher titles formerly used by their fathers. We’re trying to solve a murder here, and two people in the house are changing their names right in the middle of all this.
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