Ministry of Justice back on the cards

The Government is revisiting Labour's historic pledge to establish a Ministry of Justice.

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg QC, is understood to be looking at the possibility of establishing a new ministry with responsibility for all aspects of the legal system.

And a source close to the Lord Chancellor has said such a move could be in place midway through the government's five-year term.

The creation of a Ministry of Justice, responsible for all legal matters, was a long-standing Labour commitment when the party was in opposition. But the proposal was quietly dropped as the general election approached and was not included in this year's election manifesto.

But Lord Irvine was once a keen advocate of the reform. In 1992, in a paper produced by the Society of Labour Lawyers, he wrote that “criminal law suffers because responsibility for it, and for its administration, is divided between different government departments”.

He said the Home Office should be stripped of its responsibility for criminal law and criminal reform in order “to abolish this confusion”.