Justice minister Simon Hughes has entered the general election campaign committing Liberal Democrat support to a more ‘inquisitorial’ system of civil justice.

Hughes told the Gazette that a Liberal Democrat presence in government would lead to a review of changes to civil justice introduced in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act to identify ‘if there are areas where access to justice is not being achieved’.

Regardless of the review’s outcome, he noted, ‘there won’t suddenly be lots more money for publicly funded lawyers’. As a result, he said, ‘there is a big question for civil justice – how it could be less adversarial and … much more inquisitorial’.

Earlier this month, the lord chief justice proposed that an inquisitorial system be considered in family law cases in response to the challenges caused by the dramatic increase in numbers of litigants in person.