Michael Gove today gave his first speech after being appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the full contents of which can be viewed here.
The legal profession are awaiting with some trepidation Mr Gove’s tenure as Justice Secretary.
He will face many challenges not least reform of Human Rights legislation.
I have to view with cautious optimism, however, his initial comments. The BBC report on his speech is headlined “Justice system fails society’s poorest”.
The implication is that Mr Gove is going to revisit some of the decisions which have resulted in such catastrophic cuts to the Legal Aid budget and the detrimental effect this has had on the ability of the poorest in society to seek legal help when they most need it.
I was particularly encouraged to see the following quote:-
“The people who are let down most badly by our justice system are those who must take part in it through no fault or desire of their own – victims and witnesses of crime and children who have been neglected”.
As a lawyer who specialises in claims on behalf of victims of childhood neglect I hope that Mr Gove will look at ways to improve the justice system for these victims. There has been much talk about enshrining in statute a criminal offence for those who fail to report abuse or neglect and I would call upon Mr Gove to also look at enshrining in statute the right of neglected children to bring a claim against those responsible particularly creating a statutory duty upon Social Services to protect the children in their care.
Anything that Mr Gove can do to enshrine children’s rights within a future Human Rights Act or Bill of Rights would surely be welcomed by all.
Mr Gove has a difficult job to do particularly in “modernising our Human Rights framework” but the hope from his early soundings is that he will not ignore child victims and that the availability of Legal Aid to the most vulnerable in society may now be improved.
Farleys Solicitors are accredited specialists in abuse law, earning a reputation on both a regional and national scale assisting in numerous high profile abuse cases. For further information regarding the above story or to speak to a specialist abuse claims solicitor contact us on 0845 050 1958, alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.