The Law Society of England and Wales has welcomed increased spending on the justice sector announced in the British budget yesterday (27 October).
The organisation said that the British government had taken “a step in the right direction” by reinvesting in the justice system.
Society president I Stephanie Boyce (pictured) said that it was “relieved” that the government had listened to its call for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) budget to rise at least in line with inflation.
The MoJ will have a £3.2 billion increase in its budget to £11.5 billion in 2024-25 – equivalent to a real-terms growth rate of 3.3% a year on average over the period.
“It is good news the government has committed to better access to justice by investing more than £1 billion to increase capacity and efficiency across the courts system, tackle the growing court backlogs, and help the system recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Boyce said.
According to the Law Society Gazette of England and Wales, the budget announcements included £477 million to reduce the criminal-justice backlog, and £324 million to address the backlog in the civil, family and tribunal jurisdictions.
Boyce added: “We have long warned the civil legal-aid sector is in a precarious state, and urgent action needs to be taken – to give confidence and security to civil providers in the medium-term, and to help them survive while a more lasting solution is found.”
The society president also noted an increase in the thresholds for means-tested legal aid, saying that “millions more” people should now be able to access justice.