Chancellor Law and Legal Definition

A chancellor is an officer, with origins in Roman government, appointed to preside over a court of chancery, invested with various powers. A chancellor may be responsible for management of the courts, the appointment of judges, and other administration of justice.

In the United States, the only official granted the title of chancellor is the Chancellor of the Smithsonian Institution, a largely ceremonial office that has long been held by each Chief Justice of the United States during his term. The position is similar to that of a university chancellor, who is the head of a university. A few still maintain a separate Court of Chancery with jurisdiction over equity cases. Judges who sit on those courts are called Chancellors.