A criminal law barrister and family law solicitor have joined the junior ranks of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), while Jonathan Djanogly has been forced to return to the back benches following yesterday’s reshuffle.
After the high-profile appointment of Chris Grayling as the first non-lawyer Lord Chancellor of modern times, in succession to Ken Clarke, attention turned to the junior ranks of the MoJ. Of the four ministers, only Liberal Democrat Lord McNally has survived the reshuffle.
Both Mr Djanogly and Crispin Blunt have lost their jobs, while police minister Nick Herbert chose to leave government. Mr Djanogly, a former City solicitor who led on legal aid, civil costs and legal services regulation for the MoJ, told a local paper in his Huntingdon constituency that Prime Minister David Cameron had thanked him for his continued support over the years and said he had done an excellent job.
Jeremy Wright, Conservative MP for Kenilworth and Southam in the West Midlands, has become a junior minister at the MoJ. He was called to the Bar in 1996, specialising in criminal law, both prosecution and defence, and is a member of No5 Chambers. He has particularly experience of handling violence, drugs and dishonesty offences.
Helen Grant is also a junior minister at the MoJ, although separately she also has responsibility for women’s and equality issues. The Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Ms Grant qualified as a solicitor in 1988 with Carlisle firm Cartmell, Mawson & Main, before a spell as a clinical negligence solicitor with Hempsons in London and then an equity partner at Fayers & Co in Wimbledon.
In 1996 she set up her own specialist family law firm, Grants Solicitors, in Croydon, which also handles conveyancing and community care work. The practice has acted for over 14,000 clients since the outset and currently employs around 15 people. The practice is now managed by her husband, Simon, also a solicitor.
It operates free weekly outreach and advice services in multiple locations across south London, Surrey and west Kent through its own dedicated unit called DVLAAN (Domestic Violence Legal Advice and Assistance Network), which deals with the multiple issues relating to domestic violence.
The division of responsibilities is not yet known, but campaigners will hope that both lawyers’ knowledge of legal aid may be of assistance in the run-up to implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
Mr Herbert was replaced in his role by former immigration minister Damian Green, while Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC was also sacked, to be replaced by barrister Oliver Heald. Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC stayed in his post.