LAWFUEL – The Lawyer reports that the launch party for the UK Ministry…

LAWFUEL – The Lawyer reports that the launch party for the UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on Wednesday night had a few notable absentees – namely judges.

Not one member of the judiciary attended the reception at the new MoJ office in Victoria Street, London – the former home of the defunct Department for Constitutional Affairs.

The lack of judicial representation at the launch of the government department that will oversee the courts is a sign that the rift between the judges and the ministry continues to grow.

On Wednesday, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips told the House of Commons constitutional affairs select committee that the two camps remained “poles apart” over the role of the MoJ.

Phillips LCJ said parameters set down by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer had made it impossible to strike a deal safeguarding judges’ independence from the new ministry.

He warned that court funding would be consumed by the Prison Service and repeated calls for resources to be ringfenced to protect the judiciary from interference.

At Wednesday’s launch, Lord Falconer reiterated that he would not be initiating an inquiry into the creation of the MoJ – a requirement that the judges want if they are to support the department.

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