Responding to the wide range of legislation announced in today’s King’s Speech, Nick Vineall KC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“The King’s speech has set out an ambitious parliamentary agenda including various Bills affecting the justice sector. The court system has suffered over a decade of underfunding and legal aid cuts have denied many people effective access to justice. Additional funding is urgently required both to ensure that the courts and justice system can adequately function and to enable the delivery of the draft legislation announced today.

“The Bar Council will give careful consideration to the proposals concerning whole-life sentences. There is an obvious risk that when no credit can be achieved from a guilty plea, defendants who know that they have no defence will nevertheless insist on a trial, which means that their victims have to give evidence.”