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News | Published September 17 2019

Cabinet Review: Robert Buckland

Following the appointment of Boris Johnson's cabinet, we have launched a series of articles to assess how each sector views their new Secretary of State. Our sixth instalment focuses on Robert Buckland, the new Secretary of State for Justice. 

To gauge the opinion of the sector, we spoke to Chris Barber of Robertsons Solicitors, Andrew Robertson of McLure Solicitors and Nasreen Karim of Platinum Partnership Solicitors

1. Do you think Robert Buckland is a good choice for Secretary of State for Justice?

Chris Barber: I think he is a good choice. His history in the law is extensive with his CV including being a barrister, judge and the Solicitor General. He has seen the inner workings of our legal system from various angles which puts him in good stead to fully understand what it's like "on the ground". I hope that this allows him to implement and consider changes from an insider’s point of view rather than an outsider’s.

Andrew Robertson: I think Robert Buckland is a good choice for Secretary of State for Justice  provided he is his “own man” and stands up for what he believes to be right. The recent advice to the Prime Minister has been a good example of this and the fact he is well qualified should stand him in good stead.

Nasreen Karim: I think he's an excellent choice. Hopefully he can apply his expertise gained during his time as barrister, recorder and QC to his new position.

I think Robert Buckland is a good choice for Secretary of State for Justice provided he is his “own man” and stands up for what he believes to be right.

2. Do you think the department has done a good job in recent years?

Chris Barber: This department, like all departments, has been overshadowed by Brexit over recent years. It has been slow to implement changes and this has not been helped by cabinet reshuffles and the short term of Theresa May's premiership. Matters such as the prison reform bill, started then shelved by Liz Truss, just shows an ineffective system that needs to change.

Andrew Robertson: Not really but I accept that this has been driven by financial cutbacks. Some of these “cost savings” have been inefficient as they have resulted in the poor use of court facilities.

Nasreen Karim: I think the department is adapting well to the climate but still has a difficult job in dealing with the ever-increasing numbers of reported crimes and implementing change in legislation to protect victims of crime. Beyond this, the raising of the small claims limit is not welcome and will prevent thousands from being able to claim.

Some of these “cost savings” have been inefficient as they have resulted in the poor use of court facilities.

3. Which areas would you like Buckland to focus on in his new role? 

Chris Barber: Prison reform needs to be central to this role. This is something that started some time ago and needs to be concluded. There has been much focus recently by campaigners on the prescription of cannabis for debilitating diseases and I would like to see a consideration and consultation on drug laws. 

Andrew Robertson: He needs to find the right balance between spending too much taxpayer’s money on court proceedings and ensuring that people who deserve access to justice actually get it.

Nasreen Karim: The exit from the European Union. The effect of no-deal will be disastrous for the UK and some UK lenders have already pulled out of the lending market expecting another recession. This has to be paramount.

The effect of no-deal will be disastrous for the UK and some UK lenders have already pulled out of the lending market expecting another recession. 

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Authored by

The Parliamentary Review

@theparlreview
September 17 2019

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