BAR COUNCIL CALLS FOR NEW JUSTICE SECRETARY TO PUT ACCESS TO JUSTICE FIRST
04 Sep, 2012
The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has called on the new Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, to put access to justice top of his priorities as he prepares to tackle competing claims on departmental resources.
Congratulating the Secretary of State on his appointment, Maura McGowan QC, the Vice-Chairman of the Bar, said:
“The Ministry of Justice is facing substantial challenges not least the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. This measure will reduce effective access to justice for many vulnerable individuals. Cuts in the MoJ’s budget for the administration of justice come at a time when the prison population remains very high, placing further strains on the Ministry’s depleted resources.
“The new Justice Secretary should signal his intention to give access to justice his priority. Whatever challenges the Ministry faces, it has a fundamental obligation to ensure that everybody is able to access justice, regardless of their means. Mr Grayling must resist adding to the already punitive cuts which the last Government and Coalition Government have presided over.”