We have yet another new Secretary of State for Justice/Lord Chancellor. I think this is the fifth in five years. That puts this position on a par with Teachers of Defence Against the Dark Arts in Harry Potter who had a similar turnover. Any similarity is entirely down to your imagination…
In the past the question has been … who are they?
Dominic Raab poses no such problem. As the reluctant, outgoing foreign secretary he needs no introduction to most. One thing in his favour is that he does have legal experience unlike some of his predecessors. Although, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg was possibly a little over enthusiastic when she tweeted that he was a “senior lawyer” –
In fact, he was a trainee solicitor at City firm Linklaters where he qualified in 2000, leaving shortly afterwards. He then worked as a lawyer in the Foreign Office until he began working for David Davis in 2006. ‘Worked briefly as a lawyer’ is probably a more accurate statement.
This has not stopped him from expressing alarmingly negative views about the Human Rights Act 1998 –
As Justice Secretary, he will have a big role to play in the Reviewof the Act. The purpose of the review is as follows –
“The Government’s Independent Human Rights Act Review Panel was appointed in January 2021 following the Government’s manifesto commitment to “update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.”
I think we can all see where this will end up.
He won’t find this an easy task. I have written about this before. He will certainly need to read up on his history and the role of the European Convention on Human Rights, that was largely drafted by UK lawyers – presumably senior ones!
I think that there is no doubt that he will give it a go and us pesky, do-gooder, lefty, activist, lawyers should prepare ourselves for a bumpy ride.
He may have had a short-lived career as a solicitor but should still be aware of the oath that he must swear as Lord Chancellor –
I, [NAME], do swear that in the office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain I will respect the rule of law, defend the independence of the judiciary and discharge my duty to ensure the provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts for which I am responsible.
Shortly after his appointment he tweeted –
Not a mention of the serious responsibilities of being Lord Chancellor.
I may be wrong but this could herald a challenging time ahead…