Firstly we congratulate the Right Hon David Lidington MP upon his appointment as Lord Chancellor.
The position has been filled by a number of very different individuals over the last few years which has resulted in an enormous amount of unnecessary instability to the justice system which currently finds itself in crisis. I am certainly encouraged by his initial comments expressing a commitment to ‘working with the Lord Chief Justice and his fellow judges in the months ahead to ensure that justice is fairly administered and robustly defended.’
I hope that in his role Mr Lidington will recognise the need to robustly defend any attempts to make further cuts from the budgets impacting upon criminal justice. The judicial system is chronically underfunded and the time has come for the Lord Chancellor to protect the system from any further damage and to make every effort to work with the profession to restore the reputation of our judicial system.
There are undoubtedly areas that can and should be reformed however they must be done by consulting with those working within the legal system. Over the years we have witnessed countless failed attempts at reform which have all incurred unnecessary cost and have all been unsuccessful as a consequence of the failure to engage with practitioners. The CLSA has already invited Mr Lidington to meet with us to discuss how we might best resolve the abundance of pressures faced by the system in the hope that together we can find long terms sustainable solutions that don’t further threaten the provision of access to justice.
There have been a number of consultations that have been placed upon hold as a result of the election, we hope however that our new Lord Chancellor will meet with us to discuss matters fully before embarking upon any element of change.
Zoe Gascoyne, Chair CLSA