Clinks’ members will be well aware that the ministerial team at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been shaken up again following Boris Johnson taking over at Number 10. Having spent 11 weeks at Petty France as Prisons and Probation Minister, Robert Buckland has been promoted to become Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary. Lucy Frazer has returned to Petty France with a promotion to Minister of State for Justice with responsibility for prisons and probation. Until May this year she was the junior minister (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) responsible for courts before she replaced Mr Buckland as Solicitor General.
Yesterday, the MoJ announced that it had re-distributed ministerial responsibilities. This is of course vital information for Clinks’ members to know so that they can approach the right Minister to lobby about concerns for their specialist area of operation.
In this blog post, we set out all the ministerial responsibilities in full.
Robert Buckland QC – Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary
Mr Buckland is of course in charge of the MoJ and has oversight over all the Department’s business. His specific responsibilities include:
- Oversight of all portfolios and Ministry of Justice strategy
- Oversight of EU exit and international business
- Resourcing of the department
- Functions of the Lord Chancellor
- Judicial policy including pay, pensions and diversity
- Corporate services
It is interesting to note that the MoJ has chosen to put Brexit planning higher in Mr Buckland’s list of priorities than his duties as Lord Chancellor.
.@RobertBuckland QC MP has been appointed as Lord Chancellor & Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice.— Ministry of Justice (@MoJGovUK) July 24, 2019
Find out more about our work @MoJGovUK here: https://t.co/mPUsAHDWeI pic.twitter.com/rFd8Hiy65P
Lucy Frazer QC - Minister of State for Prisons and Probation
Ms Frazer holds both the prison and probation briefs and it is important to note that she has taken over a number of responsibilities from junior minister Edward Argar, including offender health, female offenders, veterans and transgender offenders. Her full list of ministerial responsibilities are:
- Prison operations, policy, reform and industrial relations
- Probation services, policy, reform and industrial relations
- Public protection (including Parole Board, IPPs and Serious Further Offences)
- Offender health
- Female offenders
- Transgender offenders
- Foreign national offenders
- Electronic monitoring
The Minister of State also provides support on Global Britain and the promotion of legal services.
Ed Argar – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Mr Argar’s brief has changed substantially. In addition to losing responsibility for a number of offender issues to Lucy Frazer, he is also no longer in charge of implementing the Lammy review and several of his previous areas of responsibility have been transferred to his fellow junior minister, Wendy Morton (see below). He is now accountable for sentencing and court reform and appears to have a much smaller justice portfolio, possibly in order to spend more time on supporting Mr Buckland around preparations for Brexit, a responsibility he has taken over from Wendy Morton’s predecessor, Paul Maynard. His full list of ministerial responsibilities are:
- Cross-cutting Criminal Justice System issues
- Criminal law
- Court and tribunal services and reform
- Administrative justice
- Devolved Administrations and devolution
- Human rights
- Supporting the Secretary of State on EU exit and international business
- Supporting the Secretary of State on departmental finance
- Shadow Commons minister for Lord Keen’s portfolio
Wendy Morton – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
The list of Wendy Morton’s responsibilities is also rather different from her predecessor. The MoJ has separated out ministerial responsibility for domestic abuse and violence (which was previously held by Ed Argar as part of his victims brief) and Ms Morton has also taken over responsibility for Youth Justice, Mental Capacity and the Office of the Public Guardian and Lawfare, all of which were previously held by Mr Argar.
- Family law and justice
- Domestic abuse and violence (MoJ lead)
- Youth justice
- Legal aid
- Legal support
- Court and tribunal fees
- Mental capacity and the Office of the Public Guardian
- Race disparity in the justice system
- Coroners, burials, inquests and inquiries
- Miscarriages of justice
- Parliamentary Minister (scrutinising Statutory Instruments)
Rt Hon Lord Keen of Elie QC - HM Advocate General for Scotland and MoJ spokesperson for the Lords
Lord Keen retains his role as MoJ spokesperson for the Lords and is responsible for all departmental business in the Lords. He also advises the Secretary of State for Justice on the following policy areas:
- Civil law and justice
- Legal services
- Global Britain
- Relationship with the legal profession
- Crown Dependencies
We trust this information is of use to Clinks’ members and will, of course, be updating it promptly in the light of any future changes.