Bar Council Statement on the role of the Lord Chancellor

16 October 2014

Following the Lord Chancellor's evidence on October 15 2014 to the House of Lords
Constitution Committee's inquiry into the role of the Lord Chancellor, Nicholas Lavender QC, chairman of the Bar Council, said: "Justice is not a service that governments can choose to provide or not. It is a vital part of our constitutional arrangements. It needs to be defended and promoted to make the separation of powers a continuing reality and thereby to safeguard our democratic way of life for the future.

"The Lord Chancellor must be a champion of the justice system as well as guardian of
the constitution. He swears an oath that he 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."

"His role is therefore different from that of the Secretaries of State for other
departments.  He is entrusted with lead responsibility in government to
maintain the delicate balance between, on the one hand, upholding the rule of
law and protecting the independence of the judiciary and, on the other hand,
respecting the interests of the executive. Legal expertise is essential to
fulfil such a unique role. The Lord Chancellor should be a very senior lawyer."

View the Lord Chancellor's evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee here

See the full Bar Council response to House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution Inquiry into the office of Lord Chancellor here

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The  Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad. 

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board