Lord Chancellor yields to clamour for introduction of a civil justice council

The Law Society and other practitioners' groups are claiming victory in a bid to get the Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, to form a civil justice council to implement Lord Woolf's reforms.

Mackay conceded last week in the House of Lords that he had been persuaded of the need for such a council. He confirmed that he would be introducing an amendment to the Civil Procedure Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament.

Although Lord Woolf had recommended that practising lawyers, barristers, judges and court users should form a committee to oversee his reforms to civil justice, Lord Mackay had until last week said he saw no need for such a council.

His change of heart comes after a Law Society briefing held in the House of Lords, which was attended by Ian Burns, head of policy in the Lord Chancellor's Department.