The government intends to revisit the role of lord chancellor as part of a ‘careful review’ of the Blair administration’s 2005 Constitutional Reform Act, current incumbent Robert Buckland QC MP has revealed.
The act substantially changed the office of lord chancellor, who is no longer head of the judiciary. Since 2007 the role has been combined with that of secretary of state for justice.
Buckland told the Lords Constitution Committee last week that the government will carry out a ‘careful review and consultation’ on the act, which will also consider whether office-holders must be legally qualified.
Asked how the role might change, he said: ‘It is an historic role. There is a danger that if we proceed down the 2005 road, the role simply becomes decorative and ornamental. I think that would a terrible mistake.’
Buckland, who had to resign as a judge when appointed, told the committee that the lord chancellor remains an ‘important bridge’ between the judiciary, executive and parliament.
He said: ‘I want to make sure my successors will enjoy the confidence that their powers are clear, their relationship with all other branches of the constitution are as clear as possible. That’s why I want to do some work on this act.’