Today, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, announced his resignation. Nimrod Ben-Cnaan, Head of Policy and Profile at the Law Centres Network comments on his legacy and what the next post-holder must deliver:
“Dominic Raab has brought to the role of Lord Chancellor no vision for improving ordinary people’s access to justice. The all too few initiatives in this policy field in the past year and a half were largely the legacy of his predecessor. He was content to manage decline: failing to reduce court backlogs, picking a fight with criminal legal aid lawyers, and leaving the majority of England and Wales without access to civil legal assistance.
“Raab’s priority and career-long project has been to replace the Human Rights Act. Numerous experts and groups at home and abroad (including us) have warned that this would reduce public accountability, hollow out people’s rights and result in injustices for those most in need of the law’s protection. It is therefore a relief to many that this project has failed.
“Raab’s short tenure is symptomatic: his successor will be the tenth in the role in just 13 years. This reflects not only the political instability of recent years but the declining importance of the rule of law to successive governments. We hope that the next Justice Secretary works to repair our ailing justice system and rebuild public trust in it.”
Law Centres welcome the appointment of Alex Chalk MP as Justice Secretary. Over his parliamentary career to date he has shown great interest and concern for access to justice, first as vice-chair of the APPG on legal aid and a member of the Justice Committee, and then as justice minister early in the pandemic. He has expressed appreciation and support for the work of Law Centres at our fiftieth anniversary celebrations in July 2020. We wish him success in his new role and look forward to working constructively with him.
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