Telling the MoJ what you think
Talking to the Ministry of Justice can often be a frustrating pastime, but there are a couple of opportunities just now to get your view across
The e-petition is an easy way for the citizen to influence government and Parliament in the UK. Using a simple tool on the .gov.uk website, people can create an e-petition about anything the government is responsible for. If it gets at least 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.
An e-petition called Save UK Justice has been set up and by 11 July 2013 had attracted 87,000 signatures. The e-petition reads:
“The MOJ should not proceed with their plans to reduce access to justice by depriving citizens of legal aid or the right to representation by the Solicitor of their choice.”
Even thought the MoJ consultation itself is now closed, if you would like to add your signature to the e-petition you can still do so by visiting https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48628 and following the link below the text to Sign this petition.
As reported in our last eWire (see http://www.jspubs.com/Experts/ewire/itemtext.cfm?ewid=238), these latest proposals are troubling very many people. If you are one of them, the e-petition is one way to add your voice to the thousands of others calling for more public scrutiny. And following the recent news about activities at GCHQ, there is probably little danger in putting your email address on the e-petition form because the Government likely already knows what you think!
Ministry of Justice consultation on standards for expert witnesses in family courts
On 16 May, the Ministry of Justice published a consultation paper seeking views on proposals to introduce minimum standards for expert witnesses in the Family Courts in England and Wales. The consultation paper seeks views on such issues as maintaining expertise through Continuing Professional Development activities, statutory registration with an appropriate professional body, applying the standards to overseas experts, compliance with the Family Procedure Rules and Practice Directions, and seeking feedback from solicitors and the courts.
The consultation will run until 18 July 2013. You can visit https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/expert-witnesses to find out more.