Under the Company’s charters, a Court of Assistants, comprising the Master, three Wardens and twenty Assistants, controls the Company. Members of the Court elect the Master and Wardens each year and it is the Master who presides over the Court. He is both the Company’s chief officer and its figurehead. He is assisted by the Learned Clerk, who effectively acts as secretary.
All vacancies on the Court are filled by the appointment of a Liveryman to the office of Assistant. To be appointed Assistant, a Liveryman must have served as a Steward for a minimum period of one year.
The Court grants the Livery to a number of candidates each year (the majority of whom are connected with the trade in some way) who are in general , but not necessarily connected with the trade, but first they must be granted Freedom of the Company, and subsequently the City of London.
Those interested in joining must be proposed by a Liveryman of at least 5 years standing, and seconded by a member of the Court, both of whom must have known the candidate for at two years. Liverymen are entitled to attend all functions of the Company apart from those reserved for the Court. They are also entitled to vote at Common Hall in the elections for Lord Mayor at Michaelmas and the Sheriffs on Midsummer Day.
The Learned Clerk is the Company’s permanent Executive Officer, and is the ‘outward face’ of the Company. He has overarching responsibility for the Clerk’s office.
The Assistant Clerk is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Livery and the organization of the main events.
Potential Liverymen must attend at least one company event, then take the Freedom of the Company after a special interview, apply for and take the City Freedom before applying for and taking the Livery at a historic ceremony before the Court.