The Bar Council comments on the new Queen's Speech

Posted On: 
14th October 2019

Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar Council, has responded to the Queen's Speech, saying “justice must stay high on the priority list of any government."

Richard Atkins QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“Today’s Queen’s Speech acknowledged that public confidence needs to be restored in the criminal justice system. I hope that this is an acceptance of what we have long warned, that our criminal justice system can bear no more. For the last decade, the Ministry of Justice has been in dire need of rescue as it has buckled under the strain of greater budget cuts than any other Whitehall department - 40% since 2010.

The focus on justice in this speech, as evidenced by the number of Bills on the agenda, including the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill and the Domestic Abuse Bill, is not only necessary, but long overdue. I am also pleased the Government has recognised the need to ensure that UK courts can continue to deliver justice across borders, post-Brexit, by bringing forward legislation to ratify the Hague Conventions in civil and family justice matters. 

In order to continue the online court reform programme, the Government will need to introduce legislation to give effect to online procedural changes. The Bar Council will work with the Ministry of Justice to ensure that the various measures introduced in the Courts and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill in the last Parliamentary session are carried through.

“Justice must stay high on the priority list of any government. We will be watching closely to see whether the repairs that our crumbling justice system so desperately needs will be delivered.”