‘The “creaking and outdated” justice system in England and Wales is failing society’s poorest, Michael Gove argued this week.
In his first speech since becoming Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, he said that the best legal provision is the preserve of the wealthy, while victims of crime are “badly” let down. Mr Gove also said that the case for change had been “made most powerfully and clearly by the judiciary themselves”.
In this special edition of Law in Action, the Lord Chief Justice gives his reaction to Michael Gove’s speech.’
BBC Law in Action, 23rd July 2015
‘On 16 July 2015 my heads of chambers, Tim Straker QC and Robert Griffiths QC together with my colleagues, Richard Clayton QC, Charles Morgan, Christopher Forsyth and Lee Parkhill presented our chambers annual judicial review conference. By all accounts it was a great success.’
NIPC Law, 20th July 2015
‘The police watchdog has delayed again its report into how a young athlete’s neck was broken in the street more than two years ago, the Guardian has learned. It comes ahead of Theresa May’s speech on Thursday afternoon in which the home secretary announces her intention to stamp out the “evasiveness and obstruction” suffered by families at the hands of the authorities and launches an independent review of deaths in police custody.’
The Guardian, 23rd July 2015
‘This sets out the government response to the consultation on enhanced fees for possession claims and general applications in civil proceedings, and we are also seeking responses to further proposals for consultation.’
Ministry of Justice, 22nd July 2015
‘In his first speech as lord chancellor, Michael Gove warned of a ‘dangerous inequality’ in the justice system. There was, he said, a ‘gold standard’ for the wealthy and a ‘creaking, outdated system’ for everyone else. This, from a minister in a government that has made enormous cuts to legal aid, is a little like Orestes asking for mercy on account of his being an orphan. Even so, his diagnosis is correct. What should be done? Gove suggested that rich lawyers should do more pro bono work. That is a bad idea. City solicitors are trained in transactions, not asylum and immigration; instead of donating an hour of their time, they should pay an hour’s wages to a legal charity. The more fundamental question is who should bear the cost of providing a legal system. Should lawyers, for example, contribute more than bankers, footballers or other wealthy individuals? I doubt it, though the argument has been made in the past. ‘There exists a moral obligation on the part of the profession,’ the second Lawrence Report said in 1925, ‘in return for the monopoly in the practice of law which it enjoys, to render gratuitous legal assistance to those members of the community who cannot afford to pay for such assistance.’ The grain of truth here is that monopoly providers can owe special obligations. What about victims of injustice? Should they pay higher taxes to fund the legal system? The idea seems absurd.’
London Review of Books, 30th July 2015