This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Nicola Laver

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Prime Minister Johnson urged to place criminal and civil justice at heart of priorities

Prime Minister Johnson urged to place criminal and civil justice at heart of priorities


As most people expected, Britain has a new prime minister in Boris Johnson MP and the Law Society immediately sent a plea asking him to put the “crumbling” criminal justice system at the heart of his priorities. 
It also called for urgent changes to civil funding which has restricted access to justice for many, including urging the expected increase in probate fees to be abandoned.
The Society is calling for measures to address the chronic underinvestment in the criminal justice system as well as criminal lawyers’ pay which has not increased in more than 20 years. 
Law Society President Simon Davis said: “If you want justice you have to invest – decades of cuts to this fundamental part of our country’s infrastructure mean the whole system is crumbling.” He said every organisation has its “list of asks of the new Tory leader – but few things damage the country’s health more than the undermining of our justice system”.
He also warned of a “devastating impact” on the legal sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit and called for it to be avoided all costs. 
The Society has asked the new government to make urgent changes to criminal legal aid fees and conduct an independent economic review of the long-term viability of the criminal legal aid system.
In relation to civil justice, its ‘asks’ of the new government include reinstating legal aid for early advice from housing and family lawyers, dropping the ‘stealth tax’ probate fees increase, consider further changes to the legal aid means test criteria and scrapping moves to increase the personal injury small claims limit.
Boris Johnson has now formed his inaugural cabinet which includes the appointment of barrister Robert Buckland as justice secretary. 
Priti Patel, perhaps better known for her support for the death penalty and ‘off-the-books’ meetings with Israeli politicians, has been appointed Home Secretary. 
The new Johnson cabinet is particularly notable for the appointment of firm Brexiteers.