A 'LawTech transformation fund' to support new models of delivering justice on top of further investment in justice budget as a whole are on the Law Society's wishlist for the chancellor's comprehensive spending review.
A new campaign urges ministers to use the comprehensive spending review as means to end 'decades of cuts and crises'. 'We urge the government to support our justice system and world-leading legal services sector to ensure they are well equipped with the funding needed to face the challenges of the future,' said Law Society president Simon Davis.
The review, to be announced next month, will set UK government departments’ resource budgets for the years 2021/22 to 2023/24 and capital budgets for the years 2021/22 to 2024/25.
The Law Society proposes a cross-departmental strategy on law and justice in the government’s spending review. To support technology, it proposes the government invest £11.2m a year in 'a dedicated LawTech transformation fund to unlock productivity and support the development of new legal and justice delivery models'.
Overall, 'justice spending should be protected, and further investment is needed to ensure the UK’s justice system can operate effectively', the society states, noting the backlog of 40,000 criminal cases in the Crown court.
'There has never been a more important spending review for our justice system,' Davis said. 'As we emerge from the coronavirus crisis, the legal services sector have a key role in driving recovery. We need investment – in our courts, new technologies and to secure opportunities for collaboration and trade overseas.'