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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Serious problems facing justice system being 'ignored' by Government reform plans

Written by Nick Lester

Government moves to reform the courts service fail to tackle any of the "serious problems" facing the justice system, a top lawyer has warned.

Lord Pannick, who led the successful legal challenge over triggering Article 50, derided the "anodyne" legislation during committee stage of the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill in the House of Lords.

The Government says the draft legislation will ensure the courts and tribunals system is "fit for the 21st century".

Forming part of a wider package of modernisation reforms, measures contained in the Bill include allowing authorised court staff to carry out routine judicial functions in the Crown Court, such as changing the start time of a hearing, and so freeing up judges' time.

Most of the proposals were contained in the previous and more far-reaching Prisons and Courts Bill, which fell when the general election was called.

But independent crossbencher Lord Pannick (pictured) was dismissive of the latest government legislation.

He said: "It is a remarkable achievement for the Government to bring forward a Bill on courts and tribunals that ignores all of the serious problems that are facing our justice system.

"Not simply diversity but the recruitment crisis, the crisis in legal aid, the appalling state of the judicial estate and the vital need for modernisation."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.