Dominic Raab, the new justice secretary, has vowed to support “the independence of the judiciary” as he was sworn in as lord chancellor yesterday (23 September).
During a speech at the ceremony, which was held at the Royal Courts of Justice, Raab championed “a clear separation of powers between the three branches of government”.
Raab had been appointed to the role earlier in September as a part of Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle which saw the dismissal of Robert Buckland from the position he had held since July 2019.
Despite claiming to be a believer in “firm and robust criminal justice”, Raab’s speech highlighted alternative measures of rehabilitation and prevention to limit offences.
He said: “I also believe in providing the springboard of opportunities to divert young people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds away from gangs, drugs and violence that plague not just their own lives, but their communities.”
He added that he aims to “create a prison system that properly rehabilitates prisoners” as a reduction in reoffending “is the most sustainable way to cut crime”.
The deputy prime minister also revealed his aim to “increase court capacity” in the post-pandemic period by harnessing the “digital lessons” learned during Covid-19.
He concluded: “Our justice system has been tested over the past 18 months. But it has continued to operate throughout the pandemic and I’m very proud that we were the first jurisdiction anywhere to resume in-person jury trials, an important symbol and to the world.
“Having all been cooped up for so long, I confess I am restless – determined to build on the rapid innovations that the courts have overseen to help us tackle the impact of coronavirus.”