A barrister who began his career as a Home Office lawyer is to be the next permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, the government revealed last week. Richard Heaton will move from his current post as permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office and first parliamentary counsel during the summer recess when his predecessor, Ursula Brennan, retires. Heaton said: ‘The subjects addressed by the department – law, justice, prison reform, rehabilitation – are where I have spent much of my working life and they are close to my heart.’

Justice secretary Michael Gove said that Heaton ‘joins at a challenging but exciting time. Richard’s skills and experience across government and record of leadership in policy, change and the legal field make him a great fit for the department’.