Foreword by the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals
The landscape of the justice system is changing. Reform is imperative. It is the collective responsibility of judges across the courts and tribunals system to seize and shape the opportunities now before us. Our commitment is simple: judges, tribunal members and magistrates must and will be leaders of reform; and, wherever possible, the judiciary will be a driving force for reforms which encourage access to justice, support the judiciary in its essential work (both in and out of court and hearing rooms), and above all, protect its constitutional independence, for the benefit of society.
What do we have in mind? Of course, plans may adjust over time, to take into account the rapidly changing world we live in, particularly as a result of government, political and international events. But at the core of our vision is:
- a judiciary which continues to attract and retain the best, but is also more diverse, and better able to respond flexibly to changing work
- a modernised court and tribunal estate which provides excellent facilities for users of the justice system, and the judges and staff who are at its heart rules and procedures that ensure that the right work is carried out proportionately by the right judge, and which use technology to ensure that cases are dealt with efficiently, speedily and above all justly
- a system for supporting leadership judges which acknowledges and strengthens the work they do, and enables them in turn to support colleagues throughout the system
- a better understanding amongst the public, the government and parliament, of the importance of justice, and its centrality to our prosperity as a nation, and to fairness in a democratic society
In achieving these aims, the work of the Judicial Office is essential. We are delighted to see outlined in this business plan the range of activities which Judicial Office staff will be undertaking over the next year – along with HMCTS and others in the justice system – in support of our vision. We, along with all members of the judiciary, look forward to working with them in taking forward this shared agenda. The judiciary is extremely fortunate to have the support of dedicated, hard-working and fiercely independent civil servants.
Their commitment to supporting an independent judiciary, and more generally the rule of law, is remarkable, particularly given the challenging circumstances in which they carry out their work.
Rt.Hon. Lord Thomas
Lord Chief Justice
Rt.Hon. Sir Jeremy Sullivan
Senior President of Tribunals