16 September 2021
CILEX welcomes Lord Chancellor but highlights the need for urgent reform
CILEX (the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives) has welcomed Dominic Raab into his new role as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice and have reinforced the need to progress the urgent changes to reform the legal system and clear the Covid-19 backlog.
In welcoming the new Lord Chancellor, Professor Chris Bones, Chair of CILEX, said:
“As a matter of urgency, we are keen to see changes that address the need to modernise the justice system and legal services in our country and improve diversity across the legal profession, as well as reducing the costs to the delivery of legal services.”
CILEX is asking that the new Lord Chancellor continues the momentum for change achieved under his predecessor Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC and calls for an urgent meeting to discuss how CILEX can help the Government in increasing the number of lawyers to ease the post-pandemic backlog. Professor Bones comments: “Given the Government’s commitment to clearing the court case backlog as effectively and efficiently as possible, and the Lord Chancellor’s leading role in this objective, we feel there is a strong mutual interest in removing the re-qualification requirement that would allow trial-ready CILEX Lawyers to aid the 400,000 backlogged cases.”
Specifically, CILEX is pressing for action to ensure people’s legal needs are met as the pandemic unwinds, enabling the legal system to recover faster, through two key short-term changes, namely:
Increasing the number of trial-ready lawyers: Amending the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 removing the outdated requirement for Crown Prosecutors to hold a ‘general qualification’. This could allow approximately 150 CILEX prosecutors to contribute towards clearing the courts backlog now and create a pipeline of increased supply for such roles in the future.
Helping people to manage their legal affairs: Resolving the legal anomaly within the Powers of Attorney Act 1971 that constrains a CILEX Lawyer from certifying a copy of a Power of Attorney, even though they are allowed to execute the original.
In tribute to the outgoing Lord Chancellor, Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC, Professor Chris Bones said: “We have been fortunate to establish a good working relationship with Robert Buckland who showed a genuine willingness to engage all sections of the legal profession to drive positive reform. At our AGM in July, the former Lord Chancellor told our members that they are some of the most impressive lawyers he has seen, and that the country needs more judges like them. We wish Robert well for the future and look forward to a similarly constructive relationship with the new Lord Chancellor.”
For further information, please contact:
Louise Eckersley, Black Letter Communications on 0203 567 1208
Kerry Jack, Black Letter Communications on 07525 756 599