A former ‘management consultant’ with no legal qualifications, Chris Grayling, seemingly the best available candidate to be appointed Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and Secretary of State for Justice, has again excelled himself.
Grayling is attempting to increase the fees payable to issue civil court proceedings by up to 600%, which will effectively deny access to the court system to thousands of people each year.
Among the almost unanimous chorus of disapproval, an internal government review condemned the proposal as “not fit for purpose” and last year the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, warned about the dangers of undermining the independence of the judiciary through privatising the Court Service. Faced with such overwhelming hostility, even from within his own government, one might expect a lesser non-lawyer to at least pause to take stock.
But this is no ordinary non-lawyer. This is a non-lawyer with a very thick hide whose propensity to ‘carry on regardless’ has, on a number of previous occasions, seen him the subject of adverse findings on judicial review. And now it seems that he’s heading again for the High Court.
Deeming Grayling’s proposed court fee explosion as nothing less than a breach of Magna Carta, leading bodies including the Law Society and the Bar Council have written to him, putting him on notice of yet another judicial review.
Time will tell whether he’ll succeed in his plan to deny thousands of unsuspecting litigants access to justice in the pursuance of profit.