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latest news for 25 May 2013
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Justice chief guilty of not being a lawyer - September-07-12
Source: The Times - Law
Lawyers are divided by the news that the new Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary is not “one of them”.
Chris Grayling is the first non-lawyer to be Lord Chancellor since 1558. His predecessor, Kenneth Clarke, a barrister, said after the Ministry of Justice was created in 2007 that the appointment of a non-lawyer Secretary of State was predictable.
Lord Pannick, QC, a leading public law silk, said that Mr Grayling would face political issues that did not depend on a legal training.
“If Chris Grayling had trained as a barrister, his political views, and approach to the policies of his department, would be no different,” he said.
Judge Simon Brown said: “Judges are not surprised. The Lord Chancellor does not sit judicially and our ‘boss’ is the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor needs to be a good department manager and negotiator with the Treasury. Most lawyers are not good businessmen or managers.”
But Lord Goldsmith, a former Attorney-General, said “an understanding of the legal background is very important”. And Gary Slapper, director of New York University in London, said that the appointment was “deplorable” because Mr Grayling would “be superintending a machine whose workings he is unlikely deeply to appreciate”.
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