Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice, reflects on 25 years of the Civil Justice Council

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This month marks 25 years since the Civil Justice Council (CJC)’s first meeting. The CJC is an Advisory Public Body established under the Civil Procedure Act 1997.

Its statutory functions include keeping the civil justice system under review and making recommendations to Government, the judiciary, and the Civil Procedure Rule Committee on the development of the civil justice system to make it more accessible, fair, and efficient.  

The Council is chaired by Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, as Head of Civil Justice. Read his reflection on its 25th anniversary below.

“Since becoming Master of the Rolls in 2021, one of my responsibilities has been to Chair the Civil Justice Council. This month the Council celebrates 25 years since the Council’s first meeting.

The Council was established under the Civil Procedure Act 1997 to ensure that all those with an interest in the civil justice system could play their part in its reform. It continues to facilitate co-operation in the development of the civil justice system. This is reflected through the diverse backgrounds, professions and sectors that make up the Council.

The Council’s membership brings together judges from all levels of court, legal professionals, academics, civil servants, experts, and those who represent a particular type of civil justice system user.

Parliament gave the CJC a unique role in overseeing the civil justice system and it has a statutory remit to make recommendations to government, the judiciary, and the rules committee, in order to make civil justice fairer, more efficient and accessible.

The Council’s work over the last 25 years has been broad in scope, as you might expect. Its recent work has included reports on boundary disputes between neighbours, the effect of Covid-19 on court users, holiday sickness claims, clinical negligence claims, small claims, housing possession, mediation, anti-social behaviour, and consideration of measures able to support vulnerable people appearing in court.

As a result, the Council has played a significant role in suggesting and bringing about change to improve the civil justice system and it continues to hold a vital oversight role. Long may it continue its valuable work.”

Sir Geoffrey Vos
Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice