Reforms to the justice system - along with the entire Conservative government platform - have been cast into limbo by the hung parliament returned in the general election. A weakened Theresa May administration formed in coalition with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists is likely to avoid any controversial measures in the Queen's speech, due on 19 June.
One casualty could be an early replacement for the Prisons and Courts Bill abandoned in April when the last parliament was dissolved. Another is likely to be the Conservative manifesto proposal to merge the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency.
Law Society of England and Wales president Robert Bourns said: 'No matter the composition of the UK government, the Law Society will work to promote access to justice, the rule of law and the independence of the profession. These positions were clearly laid out in our manifesto which also included our priorities for the Brexit negotiations and reiterated our support for human rights.'
Robert Bell, partner at international firm Bryan Cave, echoed the concern about Brexit: ’Apart from the inevitable uncertainty and difficulty of executing normal parliamentary business, the result of a hung parliament has plunged the Brexit negotiations with the European Union due to start on 19 June into disarray,' he said.
‘Despite all the tough talk about “strength and stability” and walking away from a bad deal if no advantageous terms were offered by the EU 27, this election has changed everything. Driving through a hard Brexit agenda is not going to win her the cross party support in the House of Commons she will need to carry the day. Most MPs don’t back leaving the single European market and it only needs a few rebels to torpedo the government’s EU negotiating strategy.’
Both Lord Chancellor Liz Truss and her opposite number Richard Burgon had good constituency results. Truss built her South West Norfolk majority with a 12% swing in the vote while at Leeds East Burgon's share of the vote rose by 7.6%.
Conservative justice ministers past and present secured comfortable holds. Sir Oliver Heald had a 58.6% share of the vote in Hertfordshire North East, while his predecessor Shailesh Vara had a slightly reduced majority of 18,000 in North West Cambridgeshire.
Solicitor general Robert Buckland held on to the Swindon South seat, taking 48.4% of the vote against Labour’s 43.6%.
In other results of interest to the legal profession:
Bim Aflolami, a former lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, was elected in the safe Conservative seat of Hitchin and Harpenden, replacing the retiring Peter Lilley.
Dual qualified solicitor Alberto Costa held his South Leicestershire seat with an 8.2% swing to the Conservatives.
Dominic Grieve, former attorney general and critic of the government on human rights policy, was returned to the Beaconsfield constituency he has held since 1997 with 65% of the vote.
Ben Gummer, who once told lawyers to ‘get real’ over legal aid cuts and as health minister did much of the groundwork for fixed costs in clinical negligence cases lost a 3,733 Conservative majority to Labour at his Ipswich constitutency.
Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, a former partner at London and Norfolk-based firm Steeles Law, held on to the Norfolk North constituency. Lamb, a minister for employment relations under the Conservative Liberal Democrat coalition, took 48.4% of the votes.
Former City solicitor Alan Mak held his Havant seat with an 8.1% swing to the Conservatives.
Fiona Onasanya, a commercial property solicitor with DC Law in Cambridgeshire, produced one of the shocks of the evening for Labour, unseating Conservative Stewart Jackson after 12 years. She secured a 607 majority in Peterborough.
Conservative former conveyancing solicitor Will Quince retained his Colchester seat with a slightly increased majority of 5,677, holding off a Labour surge.
Dominic Raab, former justice minister, retained his Esher and Walton constituency for the Conservatives, with a majority shrunk by 4.3%.
Employment rights barrister Ellie Reeves comfortably took the Lewisham West and Penge constituency in south east London for Labour, with 66.6% of the vote, a swing of 16%. Reeves currently works at SRA-regulated Monaco Solicitors in London Bridge.
Conservative solicitor David Southgate lost the Enfield Southgate seat, which he won in 2005, to another solicitor, Labour councillor Bambos Charalambous. Charalambous’ majority in the North London constituency is 4,355, a swing of 12.7%.
Keir Starmer, barrister and former director of public prosecutions, increased Labour's share of the vote by 17.2% in Holborn and St Pancras.
Jo Stevens, a former director at Thompsons Solicitors, retained Cardiff Central for Labour with a 22% swing in her favour and 17,000 majority.
Labour’s Chuka Umunna, a former lawyer at city firms Herbert Smith (now Herbert Smith Freehills) and Rochman Landau (now Ashfords), took 68.5% of the vote in his Streatham constituency in South London, increasing his share by 15.5%.
Jeremy Wright, attorney general, held his Kenilworth & Southam seat with a swing of 2.5% for the Conservatives.
Bob Neill, a criminal law barrister who has served as chair of the justice committee, retained his Bromley & Chislehurst seat. The Conservative MP had a 54% share of the vote.