Law Society launches project to make justice system fit for the future

The Law Society of England and Wales has launched a project to meet the challenges in the justice system and make it fit for the future.

The 21st Century Justice project will initially focus on the civil justice system, and has convened working groups of its Council and committee members to look at five key areas:

  • power imbalances in alternative dispute resolution
  • help for small businesses and those not eligible for legal aid to meet legal costs
  • the role of solicitors in digitalisation of the justice system
  • big data and access to justice
  • civil legal aid

The work will be supported by an advisory group made up of experts including academics, specialist non-governmental organisations, legal professionals, lawtech leaders, business and consumer groups.

Law Society deputy vice president Richard Atkinson said: “It’s vital we understand the strategic risks and opportunities our justice system faces. Our aim is to lead the debate and identify systemic improvements that will serve society now and far into the future.

“We will be drawing on the expertise of our Council and committee members as well as that of external stakeholders and those who use the justice system.

“The civil justice system and access to it are fundamental to a society rooted in the rule of law. Yet today, many people are priced out of justice or waiting years to get it.

“As a champion of access to justice, the Law Society is rising to this challenge and taking the lead in finding solutions which will deliver greater access to justice in our modern world.”

Notes to editors

* The advisory group, chaired by Law Society deputy vice president Richard Atkinson, includes:

  • Edward Bird, managing director, Solomonic
  • Dr. Natalie Byrom, director of research at the Legal Education Foundation and director of Justice Lab
  • Alexandra Lennox, director, Lawtech UK
  • Margie McCrone, head of strategy and policy, Legal Services Board
  • Matthew Pennington, chair, UK Legaltech Association and Director, Safe Capital
  • Neil Roberts, head of legal services, Which?
  • Fiona Rutherford, CEO, JUSTICE
  • Kevin Williamson, ombudsman at Financial Services Ombudsman and Housing Ombudsman board member
  • Paul Wilson, policy director, Federation of Small Businesses
  • Stuart Whittle, partner and chief innovation and technology officer at Weightmans, and member of Legal IT Innovation Group board
  • Solicitors Regulatory Authority
  • David Cox, legal and compliance director, Rightmove
  • Sir Ernest Ryder, Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, former Senior President of Tribunals and Lord Justice of Appeal

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928

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