In the Media

Lord Chancellor ?may be in breach of duty?, warns LCJ

PUBLISHED March 30, 2007

Budgetary restrictions at the Department for Constitutional Affairs are damaging the administration of justice and may put the Lord Chancellor in breach of duty, the Lord Chief Justice has warned.

Giving the annual Judicial Studies Board lecture, Lord Phillips said he was concerned that the demands of legal aid expenditure were curtailing funds for the courts.

He said Lord Falconer had a statutory duty to ensure the courts had the resources judges needed to exercise their functions and to procure their efficient and effective operation.

?Reports that I have been receiving from all over the country show that these economies imposed because of financial stringency are damaging the administration of justice ? not dramatically and not to the extent that it can be clearly demonstrated that the Lord Chancellor is in breach of his statutory duty, but damaging nonetheless.

?It is possible to envisage a point at which, as a last resort, I might be constrained to protest to Parliament that the Lord Chancellor was not succeeding in performing his duty.?