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Should the role of the Lord Chancellor be reformed?

Sir Robert Buckland outlined his experiences as Lord Chancellor and his proposals for how the role can be reformed.

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The role of the Lord Chancellor is to protect and uphold the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Yet the position is held by a cabinet minister: the secretary of state for justice.

This overlap between the independent judiciary and the political world, and the balance of power between parliament, government and the judiciary, is the source of much debate – and disagreement.

So what powers, if any, should a Lord Chancellor have over judicial appointments? Should the role go to someone with a legal background? What makes a good Lord Chancellor?

Sir Robert Buckland, who served as Lord Chancellor and secretary of state for justice until September 2021, opened this event with a short speech on his experiences in post and his proposals for how it can be reformed.

Responding to Sir Robert Buckland and joining the discussion:

  • Baroness Butler-Sloss, former judge and first female Lord Justice of Appeal
  • Sir Jonathan Jones, former treasury solicitor and head of the government legal department

The event was chaired by Emma Norris, Director of Research at the Institute for Government.


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