A group of the UK’s most influential barristers has severely criticised the Labour Government’s treatment of the UK legal system over the past ten years.
Writing in industry publication New Law Journal, leading legal figures including Michael Mansfield, QC, attack the Government over a series of issues including the independence of the judiciary, intervention in the legal system and failure to uphold the rule of law.
In an article on the rule of law, Mr Mansfield, one of Britain’s top criminal barristers, says: “This is my fortieth year of practice at the criminal Bar and, in my view, the greatest damage to the reputation, quality and integrity of the English system has been inflicted by a Labour Government first elected in 1997.
“I am certain that when the legal welfare system was envisaged in the post-war years of an earlier Labour Government, nothing of this kind could have been contemplated. The kernel of the attack has been an utter disregard for the rule of law, due process and a fundamental lack of respect for the independence of the judiciary.”
Elsewehere in a special issue of New Law Journal published today, Professor Michael Zander, QC, Emeritus Professor of Law at the London School of Economics, says: “The establishment of the Ministry of Justice was another botched job reminiscent of the shambles over the attempt in 2003 to abolish the office of Lord Chancellor.