We are now in the phoney war prior to the general election campaign kicking off proper. A coalition of legal and campaigning organisations, including the Bar Council, Legal Action Group and the Legal Aid Practitioners Group (LAPG), has just launched "A manifesto for justice" setting out important points and principles for discussion in the months leading up to this year’s general election. The manifesto calls for an effective justice system and stresses the importance of good governance and the rule of law. Well worth a read and it is not too long.
Unfortunately, the law is generally associated with cost, difficulty and delay. It has been said, sarcastically, that "Justice, like the Ritz Hotel, is open to all." The large costs of bringing a civil case have been looked at by Lord Justice Jackson and he has now reported – see The Jackson report. It is a detailed and lengthy document but it makes important recommendations. The timing of the report might be somewhat poor given the impending election and the fact that implementation of some of the recommendations will require legislation. It is to be hoped that this valuable report is not allowed to gather dust. The Ministry of Justice has stated that it will look at the recommendations in depth and "will set out the way forward in due course."
The reactions of some lawyers to the Jackson Report may be read at The Lawyer. Further comment is at Solicitors Journal and Legalweek.