24 October 2019
CILEx Responds: Commission on Justice in Wales Report
CILEx welcomes the Commission on Justice in Wales’ report and shall be engaging with CILEx Lawyers in Wales to consider the contents and implications of the report’s recommendations for justice in Wales and the operation of the Justice system more widely across the UK. We share in the Commission’s caution and concern that the adverse effects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 have resulted in grave deficiencies in the current justice system in Wales and England, and welcome this report’s objective to offer systemic solutions to enhance justice for Wales and the Welsh people at such a precarious time. Our members working in Wales are increasingly dealing with legislation passed by the Welsh Assembly and judgments from Welsh Tribunals which are distinct from their counterparts in Westminster and the courts of England & Wales, and we recognise that this divergence will only increase over time.
CILEx is also pleased to see the report’s recommendation for maintaining the current professional and regulatory framework for legal practitioners given its “open, competitive and innovative approach” to the provision of legal services. As a professional organisation and awarding body for specialist lawyers and paralegals, CILEx has always been of the firm belief that the purpose of training and qualifications is to develop competence and skills, and to acquire relevant knowledge in doing so. Our qualifications, founded on competence, are therefore focused on preparing students for all nuances of practice, including skills and awareness in a breadth of relevant laws and, in line with regulatory standards, an emphasis on wider competencies such as LawTech as recommended by the report. In light of this, CILEx is confident that its approach to education in developing specialist practitioners, and in providing more accessible, flexible, and affordable routes to qualification will dovetail neatly to any future changes that legislative devolution in Wales may bring.
CILEx President, Matthew Foster, says: “A number of recommendations contained within the report make good sense, not just for Wales but for England too. We hope the government will appreciate that their wisdom, such as strengthened alignment of policy and spending, could apply across England too, and have the added value of reducing pressure and cost on local authorities and enhancing access to legal services.”