The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) today – 07 February 2019 – published its tailored review of the Law Commission, highlighting the Government’s continued support for the role and functions that the Commission carries out.
“The Commission’s work is of clear benefit to the whole Government, much of it offering the prospect of savings to public bodies, private businesses, the third sector and to individuals, as well as improving access to justice by making the law more accessible and transparent.”
The Justice Committee
A tailored review evaluates the work of the Arm’s Length Body (ALB) in question. The report covers a wide range of areas including the Commission’s purpose and objectives, finances and funding model, effectiveness, governance, diversity and transparency, openness and accountability. It is analysed within the devolved context and considering Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union.
“[The Law Commission are] an acting exemplar in the legal life of England and Wales of how divergence following devolution can be properly addressed.”
Welsh Advisory Committee
Overall, the report paints a positive picture of the work the Commission is doing and the way it operates. Key findings include:
- The Law Commission’s functions are still required with stakeholders describing the Commission’s existence as ‘essential’, ‘imperative’ and ‘vital’
- The Commission is effective in the delivery of its functions
- The Commission should remain as an Advisory Non-Departmental Public Body to protect our operational independence and perception of independence
Recommendations from the Report
The Tailored Review also provided recommendations for improvements in effectiveness in relation to areas such as diversity, implementation of our recommendations, and hiring new staff.
The recommendations include:
- The MoJ and Law Commission should conduct a review of the current funding model and funding arrangements to ensure that the Law Commission’s funding is sufficiently robust.
- Considering how project pages on the website could clearly display ‘next steps’ post-publication of the report and recommendations, for quick reference by stakeholders and consultation respondents.
- Providing training and guidance to the Chair and Commissioners on how and when Commissioners should seek to build relationships with Parliamentarians and senior officials to increase awareness of the Law Commission and its work.
- Reviewing and updating the Framework Document – that set outs the Commission’s sponsorship relationship with the MoJ – by both parties. The review should look at the effectiveness and requirement for the Commission to meet MoJ Ministers and senior policy officials and the effectiveness of such meetings.
- The publication and implementation of a Diversity and Equality Strategy in year 2019-20.
- Support the work of the MoJ Public Appointments Team by undertaking more outreach and promotion activity to attract a more diverse range of applicants for the roles of Commissioner and Chair. [Note, the Commission recently launched a Commissioner diversity outreach programme. Read more details here.]
The Law Commission welcomes the Tailored Review and the positive conclusions that the Government reached. We will review all recommendations and work with the Government, where required, to become more effective across these areas.
Phil Golding, CEO of the Law Commission said:
“This Tailored Review is testament to the high quality work which takes place here day-in-day-out and it recognises the extraordinary contribution our staff make to ensuring the law is modern and effective.”
“It also highlights the need for the Commission to be placed on a surer footing in the future and I look forward to working closely with MoJ and wider government to bring that about.”
Sir Nicholas Green, Chair of the Law Commission said:
“We are delighted with the outcome of the review and the feedback we have received from government.
“These recommendations will help us to continue to deliver legal reform at a period of profound constitutional, economic, social and technological change.”