The Law Society has pulled together figures from law firms, technology and business – as well as the former Senior President of Tribunals – to support a project looking at how the justice system can be made “fit for the future”.
The 21st Century Justice project will initially focus on the civil justice system, and has convened working groups of its ruling council and committee members to look at five key areas.
These are: power imbalances in alternative dispute resolution, help for small businesses and those not eligible for legal aid to meet legal costs, the role of solicitors in digitalisation of the justice system, big data and access to justice, and civil legal aid.
The work will be supported by the expert advisory group, whose members are listed below and include Sir Ernest Ryder, master of Pembroke College, Oxford and former Senior President of Tribunals and Lord Justice of Appeal.
Law Society deputy vice-president Richard Atkinson, a criminal law specialist and chair of the advisory group, said: “It’s vital we understand the strategic risks and opportunities our justice system faces. Our aim is to lead the debate and identify systemic improvements that will serve society now and far into the future.
“We will be drawing on the expertise of our council and committee members as well as that of external stakeholders and those who use the justice system.
“The civil justice system and access to it are fundamental to a society rooted in the rule of law. Yet today, many people are priced out of justice or waiting years to get it.”
Other members of the advisory group include:
- Edward Bird, managing director, Solomonic, a litigation analytics business;
- Dr Natalie Byrom, director of research at the Legal Education Foundation and director of Justice Lab;
- David Cox, legal and compliance director, Rightmove;
- Alexandra Lennox, director, Lawtech UK;
- Margie McCrone, head of strategy and policy, Legal Services Board;
- Matthew Pennington, chair, UK Legaltech Association and director, Safe Capital;
- Neil Roberts, head of legal services, Which?;
- Fiona Rutherford, CEO, JUSTICE;
- Kevin Williamson, ombudsman at the Financial Services Ombudsman and Housing Ombudsman board member;
- Paul Wilson, policy director, Federation of Small Businesses;
- Stuart Whittle, partner and chief innovation and technology officer at Weightmans, and member of Legal IT Innovation Group board; and
- Representative of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.