Michael Gove’s appointment as Justice Secretary has put the Court system in the spotlight once again. In his first speech as Lord Chancellor, he set out his plans to bring redress to what he regards as a ‘failing’ justice system which benefits the wealthy who can afford to bring their disputes in London with their gold standard of British justice, whilst the majority are left at the mercy of the waste and ineffeciency of a ‘creaking, outdated system’. His vision is a ‘One Nation’ justice policy.
One element of ‘inefficiency’ earmarked for major overhaul is the Court estate. Michael Gove has criticised the ageing and ailing Court estate which currently costs around one third of the entire Court and Tribunals budget. His plan is to close 91 Courts and Tribunals, and integrate a further 31. However he maintains that a significant proportion of the population will still be able to reach a Court or Tribunal within an hour’s drive, and plans to introduce online solutions as well as telephone and video hearings to improve accessibility.
Micheal Gove is also set to to call for more efficient prosecutions for the victims who suffer twice, ‘...at the hands of our criminals and as a result of our current criminal justice system’ and the inevitable injustice of the system failing those vulnerable individuals who need it most. He has likened the current system to the tortuosly slow progress of Justice in Victorian times.
Changes are clearly afoot...