R43 – Ministerial Report from the Secretary of State for Justice

Watch
This discussion is closed.
Saracen's Fez
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
R43 – Ministerial Report from the Secretary of State for Justice


Ministerial Report for the Ministry of Justice

Her Majesty’s Secretary of State for Justice The Rt. Hon. CatusStarbright MP





Finance and Funding

The Departmental Budget

The administration of justice is one of the fundamental roles of government and as such it is only right that the Ministry of Justice receives the proper funding to perform this vital role. A functioning courts system is arguably one of the pillars of civilised society, and the English legal system is one of the best in the world. Indeed English law is often the jurisdiction of choice for international companies, and individuals.

Therefore, this government is pleased to announce that it is ending the budget cuts that the department has faced year on year1. The departmental budget will instead be frozen for the foreseeable future, ensuring that it no longer needs to dramatically cut back on the services it provides. Therefore, the departmental budget will be remaining at £6.3 billion and not decreasing to the planned £6 billion for the tax year 2019-20.


Legal Aid

Legal aid is one of the key aspects of access to the justice system, a vital component in upholding the rule of law, and spending in this area represents roughly one-fifth of the budget for the Ministry of Justice. It is sadly a well-known fact that the cuts to the legal aid budget, as well as the entitlement restrictions introduced by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LAPSOA), have caused issues within the legal system.

To briefly summarise the history, the real-life Ministry of Justice announced a consultation on the plans to make cuts under the coalition government in November 2010; cuts which were subsequently implemented by the 2012 LAPSO Act and which took effect from April 2013. Most of these cuts to legal aid (£278m of the total £350m) fell in civil legal aid, including cuts to social welfare law relating to debt, employment, housing, non-asylum immigration cases, and welfare benefits.

These cuts have impacted the legal aid system immensely, which is why this government will be putting funding into this area. The £300 million which would otherwise have been cut from the departmental budget will be used exclusively in this area; that is to say that the resulting retention of funds from the budget freeze will be ring-fenced for legal aid.

It is hoped that this extra funding will help to support the struggling legal aid sector, and can ensure that defence barristers taking on legal aid work will be paid fairly for their work by providing additional funds for the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (which determines what barristers are paid for their legal aid work) if needed2. Ensuring barristers in the sector are paid appropriately is vital for ensuring that chambers taking on such work are able to retain their young, talented criminal barristers and that the sector maintains diversity by being open to not just those from wealthy, privileged backgrounds3.

Ultimately, it is important that talented barristers are incentivised to take on legal aid work in order to provide defendants with a proper defence in court, and it is a well-known fact that a competent defence is integral to the proper functioning of our adversarial legal system, which is based on there being two parties of equal power presenting their case in court before the judge (and the jury). This prevents wrongful conviction.

The Legal Aid Agency may of course invest the funds into areas in need as it chooses.


The Criminal Case Review Commission

On the topic of preventing wrongful conviction, the Criminal Case Review Conviction (CCRC) is to be granted the funding to hire and retain ten extra members of staff.

The CCRC is an organisation which does important work within the justice system, principally by investigating potential miscarriages of justice. It can secure appeals for defendants who believe they have been wrongly sentenced or convicted. However, the Commission is overburdened and therefore at present it struggles, and even fails, to meet its targets4.

The Commission currently has around 90 staff, including a core of around 40 case reviewers5, with twelve Commissioners appointed in accordance with the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice. Therefore, an extra ten members of staff represents an increase of 9%, which will come at a cost of around £386,000 per annum6.

This expansion will help the Commission to review and close cases more quickly, enabling it to meet its targets and to provide a better service to those seeking to have their case reviewed and referred to an appeal. It is hoped that the extra staff members will ensure that far more cases will be closed within twelve months of the application date, and that the average time taken to review a case will be greatly reduced.


Judicial Pay Rises

It has been reported in the media for a while now7 that the judiciary generally feels underpaid, overworked, and undervalued by the government. This has been especially shown to be the case in the results of the Judicial Attitude Surveys, the most recent being the 2016 survey8, which showed that only 2% of the salaried judges surveyed felt valued by the government. More importantly, 64% said that court staff morale is poor and 63% identified judicial salary as having a detrimental impact on their morale with 74% stating that their pay and pension entitlement does not adequately reflect the work they have done and will do before retirement.

In response to this, the government would like to announce a 2.5% rise in judicial salaries for the tax year 2019-209, which will come at a cost of around £5.4 million10.

It is hoped that this will show the judiciary that the government, as well as the public at large, value the work judges do and recognise the essential role they play in the proper functioning of our justice system. The government acknowledges that judges need to be fairly paid for this important work, and that fairer payment will improve judicial morale.

This rise in judicial salaries also has the additional benefit of improving the ability of the judiciary can attract the best quality candidates, which is imperative to maintaining the quality of the justice system. As Lord Neuberger stated in 2017 whilst President of the Supreme Court: a "first-class judiciary" is essential for the "whole financial and professional services industries" that are "so vital to the fortunes of this country, perhaps particularly in the post-Brexit world". He also identified the issue of first-class advocates deciding not to be judges which, in his opinion will “undermine one of the two fundamental pillars of our society, the rule of law."11.

Therefore in raising salaries, the government affirms its strong support of the work of the judiciary and shows its intention to ensure judicial morale is strong, that judges are fairly paid for their work, and that the judiciary retains the ability to recruit top=quality candidiates into its ranks.


Costings Summary

Legal aid - £300 million (coming from a freeze in the Ministry of Justice’s budget instead of a planned reduction)

CCRC expansion - £386,000 per annum

Rise in judicial salaries - £5.4 million

Total cost - £305.8 million


Sources and References

1

Tables taken from the Spring 2017 Budget and the Autumn 2018 Budget respectively, which show the cuts experienced by the department over the last few years.

2https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46328004

3https://www.independent.co.uk/news/l...-a8484576.html

4https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/c...-19_JUN_18.pdf

5https://ccrc.gov.uk/about-us/who-we-are/

6The current permanent employees cost £3,472,000 which works out as an average of £38,578 per staff member for salaries, social security contributions and pensions (Source: https://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/c...Accessible.pdf, page 70 - figures from the year 2017-18).

7See this article from 2015, this one from 2016, and this one from 2019 as examples.

8https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/...ruary-2017.pdf (see page 37 onwards for the data specific to judicial salaries)

9This figure is based on recommendations given by the Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB) in their 2018 report on the judicial salary structure.

10Judicial salaries were £214,589,000 in the tax year 2017-18 (the most recent figures to be found). A 2.5% increase brings the figure to £219,953,725 (a cost of an extra £5,364,725). Source: https://assets.publishing.service.go...7-18__web_.pdf (at page 70)

11https://www.supremecourt.uk/docs/speech-170210.pdf
0
Saracen's Fez
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#2
I presume the only bit you think needs primary legislation CatusStarbright are the LAPSO Act changes?
0
Connor27
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#3
Report 1 year ago
#3
I agree with everything here except judicial pay rises - judges, like MPs, are already overpaid and should stop moaning about their comfortable lives when others are in genuine poverty.

Even though this is a relatively minor expense, I feel like it sets a bad precedent for things like further MP wage rises if voted through - as such I shall abstain if this report goes to division.
0
ns_2
  • Political Ambassador
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#4
Report 1 year ago
#4
This report, of course, has my full backing.
0
CatusStarbright
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#5
Report 1 year ago
#5
(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
I presume the only bit you think needs primary legislation CatusStarbright are the LAPSO Act changes?
There are no changes being made to LAPSOA here.
(Original post by Connor27)
I agree with everything here except judicial pay rises - judges, like MPs, are already overpaid and should stop moaning about their comfortable lives when others are in genuine poverty.

Even though this is a relatively minor expense, I feel like it sets a bad precedent for things like further MP wage rises if voted through - as such I shall abstain if this report goes to division.
Judges are most definitely underpaid for the work that they do, important work which is being conducted in quite stressful circumstances and work which has implications for the lives of a great many people who are involved in our civil and criminal processes.
0
SoggyCabbages
Badges: 18
Rep:
?
#6
Report 1 year ago
#6
I echo the sentiments of the not so Honourable Connor27.

From a very quick Google, the minimum wage bands seem to be in the area of 100,000 pounds per annum. A large amount. Do judges really need to be paid more? Nawh bless you feel undervalued and tired? I'm sure that 100,000 is not enough for you to live a content life.
1
Rakas21
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#7
Report 1 year ago
#7
This report has my full support.
0
Mr T 999
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#8
Report 1 year ago
#8
I echo the right honorable Connor comments. Judges are already overpaid as are MP's.
If you want more money then go work in the private sector. :judge:
1
Saracen's Fez
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#9
(Original post by CatusStarbright)
There are no changes being made to LAPSOA here.
OK, it is just more money being given out?
0
Lord Vitiate
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#10
Report 1 year ago
#10
(Original post by Connor27)
I agree with everything here except judicial pay rises - judges, like MPs, are already overpaid and should stop moaning about their comfortable lives when others are in genuine poverty.

Even though this is a relatively minor expense, I feel like it sets a bad precedent for things like further MP wage rises if voted through - as such I shall abstain if this report goes to division.
You are wrong - extremely wrong! Our judges are immensely underpaid for the work that they tirelessly do for our country. Your disgraceful disregard for our judges is noted.
0
Mr T 999
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#11
Report 1 year ago
#11
(Original post by keepholtingon)
You are wrong - extremely wrong! Our judges are immensely underpaid for the work that they tirelessly do for our country. Your disgraceful disregard for our judges is noted.
The judicial hierarchy is divided into nine salary bands. The lowest-paid band, which includes employment tribunal judges and district judges, who preside over more serious hearings in magistrates’ courts, received a salary of £108,171.

Since when did earning 6 figures become underpaid?
0
CatusStarbright
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#12
Report 1 year ago
#12
(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
OK, it is just more money being given out?
Yes, more funds are being put into that area.
0
CatusStarbright
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#13
Report 1 year ago
#13
(Original post by Mr T 999)
If you want more money then go work in the private sector. :judge:
This is actually a massive issue as we are seeing this happen. Some talent is being missed from the public sector as the profession is rather undesirable to work in. There have been incidents where High Court vacancies have not been filled as there have not been enough qualified candidates applying. I do not wish to see the judicial profession brought to its knees and I would hope you do not too.
0
Aph
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#14
Report 1 year ago
#14
I agree with all of this. The judiciary is such an important institution and with attacks from all direction, especially the media these days the judges deserve a pay rise to make it easier.
1
Connor27
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#15
Report 1 year ago
#15
The idea that a MINIMUM 6 figure salary is “underpaid” is utterly absurd.

They are servants of Her Majesty’s government, not private contractors, if they feel “undervalued” then go work elsewhere.
1
Connor27
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#16
Report 1 year ago
#16
(Original post by keepholtingon)
You are wrong - extremely wrong! Our judges are immensely underpaid for the work that they tirelessly do for our country. Your disgraceful disregard for our judges is noted.
Can you not do the moralistic posturing please?

Explain to me how ANYONE can say they are underpaid on a 6 figure salary?
0
CatusStarbright
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#17
Report 1 year ago
#17
(Original post by Connor27)
They are servants of Her Majesty’s government, not private contractors, if they feel “undervalued” then go work elsewhere.
As I have stated, this is the problem. Please do me the courtesy of reading my previous responses to the same argument before jumping in and expecting me to respond to the same thing twice. My answer will not change.
0
LemonBotex
Badges: 8
Rep:
?
#18
Report 1 year ago
#18
How the hell is 6 figures underpaid. If the Justice Secretary thinks that, she should go speak to people living in poverty, or who are just about managing. Then look us in the eye and tell us judges are underpaid.
0
Saunders16
  • Political Ambassador
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#19
Report 1 year ago
#19
The end to cuts is appreciated, but they should be reversed. I fear this is simply not enough.

How much more money does the Secretary of State for Justice honestly believe should be put into legal aid?
0
Connor27
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#20
Report 1 year ago
#20
(Original post by Aph)
I agree with all of this. The judiciary is such an important institution and with attacks from all direction, especially the media these days the judges deserve a pay rise to make it easier.
Yes I’m sure they’ll be crying all the way to their bank with their 100 grand plus after reading comments from those meanies in the media...
0
X
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

What factors affect your mental health the most right now? (select all that apply)

Lack of purpose or routine (119)
15.51%
Uncertainty around my education (124)
16.17%
Uncertainty around my future career prospects (72)
9.39%
Isolating with family (51)
6.65%
Lack of support system (eg. Teachers, counsellors) (30)
3.91%
Lack of exercise/ability to be outside (66)
8.6%
Loneliness (81)
10.56%
Financial worries (32)
4.17%
Concern about myself or my loved ones getting ill (70)
9.13%
Exposure to negative news/social media (50)
6.52%
Lack of real life entertainment (eg. cinema, gigs, restaurants) (72)
9.39%

Watched Threads

View All