Djanogly thrust into heart of legal debate
Solicitor Jonathan Djanogly has been given the task of overseeing legal services, legal aid and civil justice policy, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed.
This puts him at the heart of many of the key issues facing the profession at the moment, such as alternative business structures, referral fees, legal aid reform and implementing the Jackson report.
After the new ministerial line-up was confirmed over the weekend, there had been considerable speculation as to where responsibilities would lie given that Henry Bellingham, who had led the Tories’ pre-election work on key legal issues, was appointed to the Foreign Office instead.
Mr Djanogly, a former partner at City firm SJ Berwin, has been given the following briefs: legal aid and legal services; HM Courts Service, tribunals and administrative justice; Office of the Public Guardian; Offices of Court Funds, Official Solicitor and Public Trustee; civil law and justice; family justice; coroner reform and burial policy; Criminal Cases Review Commission; Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority; and the Parole Board.
The Lord Chancellor, Ken Clarke, is the only other lawyer among the five ministers appointed to the MoJ. He will have oversight of all MoJ business, and will also have responsibility for: criminal justice and penal policy strategy; constitutional issues; judicial policy; national security justice issues; and EU and international.
Police Minister Nick Herbert will be responsible for criminal justice strategy, reporting on this jointly to Mr Clarke and Home Secretary Theresa May.
Tom McNally, minister of state and deputy leader of the House of Lords, will have responsibility for: departmental business in the Lords; support to Secretary of State on constitutional matters; civil liberties; freedom of information, data protection and data sharing; legislation and law reform; public law and public legal issues; support to the Secretary of State on EU and International business; Crown dependencies; Land Registry; National Archives; and the Law Commission
Junior minister Crispin Blunt will have responsibility for: prisons and probation; youth justice; criminal law and sentencing policy; and criminal justice.
The MoJ will now have sole responsibility for youth justice; previously, the policy was shared with the Department for Education.
Mr Clarke said: “We face a set of formidable challenges. We must ensure fairness and efficiency in our justice system, whilst reinforcing an independent judiciary. We must provide protection for the public from dangerous individuals and find ways to improve rehabilitation so to cut the worryingly high rates of recidivism.
“We must deliver these priorities against the backdrop of greater budget constraint than has been seen for many decades. I do not underestimate the scale of the task, but my team and I are ready to get to work, improving the justice system and delivering better value for the taxpayer.”
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