Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Justice for Sale

No doubt wishing to try and further his political career, I notice that Justice Minister Chris Grayling has been one of the first to agree further spending cuts in his department with the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. A clue as to how these extra cuts are to be achieved featured on the front page of The Times yesterday 'Courts to be privatised in radical justice shake-up'.

According to a post on the Scriptonite Daily website, Grayling hinted at changes when he told Parliament in March:-

“The courts and tribunals are at the centre of our justice system, relied on by the public to enforce their rights and uphold the rule of law. As in other areas, we need to look at the way we deliver our services to provide a more efficient service that delivers access to justice quickly and effectively, while delivering value for money for the taxpayer. At the same time, we must preserve the independence of the judiciary, which lies at the heart of our constitutional arrangements.”

According to the Times article:- 

“Courts in England and Wales are facing wholesale privatisation under revolutionary plans that would end the system that has existed since Magna Carta. The idea would establish the courts service as a commercial enterprise, paying its way and freed from Treasury control, with court buildings and thousands of staff put in the hands of private companies. It would save the Ministry of Justice £1 billion a year.”

Of course this could be a bit of 'kite-flying' just designed to judge the reaction and distract us from other things going on, but if it has any traction it will of course involve the usual suspects like G4S and Serco. They are rapidly becoming a 'one stop shop' in terms of the criminal justice system and could end up making money at every stage from initial arrest and investigation, right through court, legal representation, bail, tagging, transport, custody to probation supervision. Quite a neat business empire eh? 

The Scriptonite Daily article goes on to provide a very useful and enlightening resume of just how far G4S's tentacles have spread already in our criminal justice system. The campaign to stop them getting their hand on probation continues and the No10 petition can be found here. 

Meanwhile the legal profession continues to turn the heat up on Chris Grayling with 90 QC's apparently putting their names to a letter in the Daily Telegraph warning that the restrictions to legal aid "will seriously undermine the rule of law". The relevant No10 petition can be found here and has already attracted a very respectable 64,561 signatures.


  1. Its all a very sick situation. Offenders as commodities, profit before risk, privatised courts where sentencing is dictated by share holders premiums and market forces, maybe future franchises could even include tescos or primark. Not only profit from offenders but free labour from community payback, lucrative deals on prison uniforms, and as much horsemeat ready meals as the prison pantry can stock.

  2. Should the ministry of defence hav its budget sliced similar to the ministry of justice, is it a given that we can expect to see g4s and serco employees patroling afganistan and the gulf next year? Forget nigel farrage, the next primeminister must come from the ranks of g4s or serco. Use your vote wisely......we dont want another coalition do we?

  3. I think this coalition has the brightest ideas that we have ever had since time began. If we manage to privatise our police force/ defence and judiciary, we may be looking at privatising parliament and law making so that those who have money can buy as many as possible seats in parliament. Bright ideas!, constituents do no longer need to elect those they trust. Justice for sale, yes. But those who can not buy justice will then turn to make their own justice. Catastrophic ideas you have! What will all the money do for this country without the common man safety and his/her protection by the rule of law? Are we redefining justice?

    1. Some would say we are indeed on our way to hell on a hand cart. A judge in the US was recently sent to jail for 20 years for being found guilty of incarcerating young people for long terms, in return for kickbacks amounting to $2million from the prison company. It is not fanciful to say we are on the very same slippery slope, back to the days of the 'rotten' boroughs when votes were literally bought and sold.

      Thanks for commenting,