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Simon Davis’ speech at the swearing in of the lord chancellor

30 July 2019

Simon Davis, president of the Law Society of England and Wales, spoke at the swearing in of the lord chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, on Tuesday 30 July at the Royal Courts of Justice.

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Introduction

My Lord. As president of the Law Society of England and Wales, I congratulate you on behalf of the 190,000 solicitors as you take up the role of lord chancellor.

Wales

Lord chancellor, it was only fitting that news of your appointment should come when I was in Cardiff with members of the judiciary, solicitors and barristers together celebrating in harmony the Supreme Court sitting in Wales for the first time and the first judgment having been delivered in Welsh by David Lloyd-Jones.

Criminal justice

The rule of law lies at the heart of the Law Society’s responsibilities and purpose. We are delighted that a man who has championed justice and upholding the rule of law for so much of his political and professional career will be taking up this important post. And we are confident that the system of justice will be secure in your hands, based on our own personal experience of working alongside you for many years and now on your moving and inspirational words today.

Your first speech as prisons minister recognised the need to take ‘a whole system approach’ to our criminal justice system and the importance of ensuring different parts of this system ‘work properly together’. We agree and offer you our support at a time when the rule of law is seriously at risk.

You will have seen first-hand in your career as a criminal barrister and as a Crown Court recorder, and I am sure will have heard from your constituents in Swindon South, how the neglect over so many years of our criminal justice system by governments of every hue has led to the position where some of the most vulnerable in our society cannot access justice.

Let us combine to make the case to Treasury – if that case really needs be made – that investment in our justice system is not only crucial for the rule of law but good politics and good economics – to echo your own words last year. I welcome you most warmly.

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