It Helps to Be a Lawyer – Says Former Attorney General on Lord Chancellor Debate

This article was published on: 10/31/14

Scott Rees logo

The former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve MP, has stated his belief that there are advantages to having a fully qualified lawyer in the role as Lord Chancellor.

Mr Grieve is the latest to respond to the comments made by current incumbent, Chris Grayling, that there were no disadvantages in his lack of legal qualifications, insisting that it having a history of involvement within the legal profession is vital in order to understand the importance of the link to the judiciary and the government.

He said: “One of his jobs is to act as a link between the judiciary and government – a very proper constitutional link which needs to be maintained while also ensuring the distance between the judiciary and the government.”

“I think it’s probably easier to do that if one has a history of involvement in the legal profession. It seems to me that this is quite apparent, but it’s not essential.”

Chris Grayling has been under fire for quite some time now over his suitability for the role, as experts, including the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, who suggested that Grayling ‘has no understanding of his role’.

The discussion on whether Chris Grayling is suitable role has come about as part of an inquiry into the role of the Lord Chancellor.

The general consensus so far has been that having legal expertise is something that will hugely benefit the role. Of course the way that Chris Grayling has mercilessly crippled the legal industry with restrictive reforms on the small claims limit, will earn him no popularity or favours from the very people he governs.

Scott Rees and Co Partner David Byrne outlined this by claiming he had a complete disregard to the key values of the justice system and questioned whether Chris Grayling was the right man for the Lord Chancellor or his other role as the Justice Secretary.

With more criticisms over his qualification this week, Mr Byrne said that it was time for the Government to listen to what is being said and make the right call.

He said: “It is clear from what the inquiry is consistently being told by people who have been in the Lord Chancellor position in the past or others with a respectable knowledge of governmental proceedings that Chris Grayling’s tenure as Lord Chancellor is under threat.”

“In the testimony he gave to the House of Lords, he completely downgraded the unique importance of the role of Lord Chancellor, which further goes to show why he is inappropriate.”

“Speaking as a professional within the legal industry I reiterate that the time under his stewardship has been incredibly testing and you only have to look at the recent defeat, he has suffered in the high court to see why his position should be reviewed.”

“His attempt to take substantial money away from the damages of cancer victims was described as unlawful there. How can you have somebody who is ‘unlawful’ in charge of upholding the rule of law? It is completely hypocritical.”

“The role of Lord Chancellor needs to be tendered by someone who understands the profession and has experienced the impact of government on the day to day proceedings of a legal firm and therefore, in my opinion, should be a fully qualified legal professional.”