Prime minister David Cameron has indicated his determination to see through controversial legal reforms by appointing a combative non-lawyer to the posts of secretary of state for justice and lord chancellor.

Michael Gove (pictured), a former journalist who served as a controversial education secretary in the coalition government, will take over from Chris Grayling the job of seeing through a replacement to the 1998 Human Rights Act as pledged in the Conservatives' election manifesto.  

Legislation, originally promised by the Conservative party as a draft bill before Christmas, is expected to be introduced in the Queen's Speech on 27 May. 

The party's manifesto said: 'The next Conservative government will scrap the HRA, and introduce a British Bill of Rights. This will break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights, and make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK.'

The Law Society has already said it will oppose repeal of the 1998 act. Responding to the Conservatives' election victory, Law Society president Andrew Caplen said on Friday: 'The Human Rights Act is a fundamental safeguard of many of our basic rights and freedoms. We will be pressing the government to retain it.'

As education secretary, Gove carved out a reputation for confrontation with professionals and their institutions.

He has indicated his willingness to take on similar challenges at the Ministry of Justice.

In his 2006 book Celsius 7/7 on the West's responses to Islamist terrorism, Gove concluded: 'The problems we face are compounded by the dogged refusal of too many in the legal establishment to put the defence of our civilisation ahead of the defence of the traditions with which their profession has grown comfortable.'

Other measures in the Conservatives' manifesto included continuing the £375m modernisation of the courts system, 'reducing delay and frustration for the public'. It also said the Conservatives would 'continue to review our legal aid systems, so they can continue to provide access to justice in an efficient way'.

Grayling becomes leader of the House of Commons in the new government where he will play a role in handling constitutional matters such as the EU membership referendum and the relationship with the devolved government in Scotland. 

In other ministerial announcements, criminal barrister Jeremy Wright QC MP remains in post as attorney general.