The next print issue of the Gazette is in 2015, a general election year. While it would be foolish to second-guess the contents of seven party manifestos, it seems all too safe to say that the law and legal policy will be at once everywhere and nowhere.
Everywhere in that lawyers and the courts often take political centre stage and, as legislation is cheap, we can expect any number of ‘crime and punishment’ pledges. Expect also a continuation of the trend for making individuals and businesses liable for errors that were once superintended by government and regulators. If Ed Miliband is prime minister, there are proposals on judicial diversity that may be taken forward.
A Conservative majority might see a publicly declared change in our relationship with European courts.
Worryingly, what will likely be nowhere is a keen understanding among policymakers of the infrastructure, the ‘technology’ if you like, that needs to attend law reform. Put simply, lawyers find it hard to gain the ear of policymakers. It is little exaggeration to say that since 1997 a pragmatic legal perspective informed the Human Rights Act (1998), the Companies Act (2006) – and little else.
On returning from the Christmas break, it is surely in the interests of all for members of the legal profession to seek to change that.