The ATP-dependent Clp protease is by far the most intricate protease in chloroplasts of vascular plants. Structurally, it is particularly complex with a proteolytic core complex containing 11 distinct subunits along with three potential chaperone partners. The Clp protease is also essential for chloroplast development and overall plant viability. Over the past decade, many of the important characteristics of this crucial protease have been revealed in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. Despite this, challenges still remain in fully resolving certain key features, in particular, how the assembly of this multisubunit protease is regulated, the full range of native protein substrates and how they are targeted for degradation and how this complicated enzyme might have developed from simpler bacterial forms. This article focuses upon the recent advances in revealing the details underlying these important features. It also take the opportunity to speculate upon many of these findings in the hope of stimulating further investigation.