Almost all the Harry Potter books feature an introduction to the new Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. This is usually because the previous incumbent has come to a nasty end in the previous book.
All of which brings me to the latest Secretary of State for Justice, a position which is renewed with similar regularity, possibly for similar reasons. Our latest Lord Chancellor is Robert Buckland QC, who was previously, Solicitor General and then Minister of State. Firstly, it is encouraging that for the second appointment in a row we have a lawyer in the most important legal role in government! Long gone are the days of Liz Truss, who failed to speak out in defence of the judiciary following the infamous ‘Enemies of the People’. Going back even further there was that other guy; the one who gave a ferry contract to a company with no ferries.
In Robert Buckland we have a lawyer who was previously a working barrister and who spent time on the bench as a Recorder from 2009. When did we last have a Lord Chancellor who has served as a judge? He should understand the real world of law and justice.
Indeed, he has received a major testimonial from none other than @BarristerSecret who tweeted –
‘Gosh. A sensible appointment. I’m a little lost for words.’
He also worked under David Gauke. I think that most of us would agree that he did a reasonably good job within the huge financial restrictions imposed on the MOJ. His work on prison reform was encouraging. Mr Buckland will hopefully bring some continuity to a role where it has been sadly lacking for many years. He has also previously served on the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
On the downside, he has voted against laws to promote equality and human rights –
He also supported the massive cuts to Legal Aid –
But then, he is a Conservative Minister, so we world hardly expect him to have risen through the ranks if had had not toed the line. Whilst his party remains in government, these attitudes will go with the territory.
But, on balance, he is as good as we might expect this side of a General Election.
At a time when the world of politics has never been in greater turmoil, he brings to the table an experienced pair of hands who knows far more about the real world of law, than many of his predecessors.