Judicial Office Business Plan 2016-17

Foreword by the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals

The Judicial Office celebrated its 10th anniversary in May. Such a milestone naturally provides cause to reflect. The constitutional settlement out of which the Office emerged, as well as the very existence of the organisation itself, has undoubtedly buttressed the integrity and independence of the judicial system that we have today.

While the focus for this document is the future, the past experience of our first decade – and the lessons learned throughout it – will inevitably prove to be of benefit in our continued development. Aided by the support of the Judicial Office, the judiciary must take a full, proactive and leading role in the arrangements which govern the courts and tribunals system. The framework developed since 2006 provides a very sound bedrock upon which to build.

2016/17 will be a crucially important year on many fronts. In terms of profile, courts and tribunals reform is an obvious and clearly justified priority. The commitment of over £700m of new investment funding is a recognition of the centrality of the justice system and the rule of law to our society, and in the benefits this brings, both micro and macro. We must now all use this opportunity to the full.

Judges, members and magistrates must and will be leaders of reform. Wherever possible, the judiciary will ensure that change builds upon and protects access to justice and the rule of law, and help to ensure that risks are mitigated. We must all be open minded about innovation and willing to embrace change, to make sure that our internationally respected justice system is as just, proportionate and accessible as possible.

The overriding objective of justice is to uphold the rule of law by ensuring the just and proportionate resolution of disputes. The cases, claims, petitions and appeals coming before our courts and tribunals today must be at the forefronts of our minds.

The issues outlined in this Business Plan, and which are evident from the context in which it sits, are significant. As a judiciary, we look forward to working with – and receiving the considerable support of – the Judicial Office, as well as staff in agencies like HM Courts & Tribunals Service. The rule of law is a cornerstone of our democracy. The work of the dedicated and professional Civil Servants to help safeguard it is hugely important, if sometimes understated. We are most grateful to them for it.

Rt.Hon. Lord Thomas
Lord Chief Justice

Rt.Hon. Sir Ernest Ryder
Senior President of Tribunals

*Please note that this is an updated version (26/08/16) as there was an error in the headcount figures which has now been corrected.