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Grayling: ‘No change is no option’

Lord Chancellor says change can be driven by conflict, economic reality and societal enlightenment

23 February 2015

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The legal sector must continue to innovate if it is to maintain its standing on the world stage, the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling has told delegates at the Global Law Summit (GLS).

Introducing the Lord Chancellor, Sir David Wootton, co-chair of the GLS, described the summit as Grayling's "brainchild" and explained how he was sure that the global legal community would flock to London for such an event.

Some 2,295 delegates from 110 countries - including 90 ministers and attorney generals - were on hand to witness the Lord Chancellor give his keynote address to the GLS.

Describing Magna Carta as a "remarkable document" and a "central part of our legal system", Grayling said that a "thriving legal system" and respect for the rule of law go hand in hand with a "thriving economy".

He went on to highlight how the work of the legal profession contributes £20bn to GDP and how London is a "centre for legal excellence" and the rival of any other city in the world.

However, the Lord Chancellor warned that in order for the UK to retain its standing at the top of the legal world, all stakeholders must continue to innovate.

"We must continue to innovate and develop our legal system to keep pace with the world around us; continue to grapple with difficult issues and learning from others and their experiences," said Grayling.

He added that we always remain firmly rooted in the principles of Magna Carta that has served so well to date.

He continued: "The next three days will allow an opportunity for debate and discussion on the future shape of the law. You will hear the whole range of different perspectives within the UK and elsewhere. You will hear from those who want change and from those who want no change. But what is clear to me looking back on the history of our legal system is that no change is seldom an option.

"Change can be driven by conflict, by economic reality, by social change and enlightenment. And when it comes it can sometimes be profoundly unwelcome. But whatever the needs for change, those principles from 1215 remain essential today as they have ever been."

John van der Luit-Drummond is legal reporter for Solicitors Journal