The Lord Chancellor has been awarded almost £1m by the High Court in its battle with a legal aid firm over payments on account. Mr Justice Holgate said the evidence showed “over-claiming to a substantial extent in a substantial number of cases” by Charles Ete & Co.
Justice secretary Chris Grayling has promised criminal law barristers that the government will “take measures” to strengthen the Legal Aid Agency’s ban on solicitors demanding referral fees.
There is a “distinct advantage” in having a Lord Chancellor from a “legal or constitution background” but it is not essential, the House of Lords constitution committee has concluded following its investigation into the role.
Dominic Grieve MP, the former Attorney General, has made it clear that he believes there are advantages in the Lord Chancellor being a lawyer. He was responding to comments by Chris Grayling that there were “no disadvantages” in his lack of legal qualifications.
Lord Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, has condemned the “heart-breaking and disappointing” comments made about the role by its current incumbent, Chris Grayling.
The Lord Chancellor should be a “very senior lawyer”, Nicholas Lavender QC, chairman of the Bar Council, has said. Support for the role being held by a lawyer also came from the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives.
Chris Grayling, the Lord Chancellor, said this morning he could see “no disadvantages” in the post being occupied by a non-lawyer.
Lord Chancellors should be recruited from the judiciary and no longer combine the role with that of justice secretary, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has argued.
Lord Judge, the former Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), has told peers that Lord Chancellors should have “some legal qualification”.
The House of Lords constitution committee has launched an inquiry into the office of Lord Chancellor, in the wake of its warning last week that plans by the current occupant, Chris Grayling, to limit judicial review risk “undermining the rule of law”.