JUSTICE uses the unrivalled professional and cross-party expertise of our membership to make up working parties which guide and support particular JUSTICE projects. Throughout our history we have used such working parties – which have been responsible for some of our most influential and significant reports – in order to enable us to draw, as fully as possible, upon our members’ vast range of expertise and experience.
Our administrative justice work has helped to ensure that individuals are able to effectively enforce their rights against the state. JUSTICE was at the forefront of the implementation and safeguarding of the Human Rights Act, recognised the need for greater rights of access to information held by public bodies long before the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act and has sought to ensure that judicial review reforms are implemented in a way which is consistent with the rule of law.
Recent work has focused on ensuring a fair and effective immigration and asylum appeals system for all appellants, in particular against the backdrop of the digitisation and modernisation of courts, as well as a robust system of review for school exclusion decisions.
ince its establishment in 2018, JUSTICE has been providing the secretariat to the Administrative Justice Council (AJC). The Council, chaired by Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals, aims to strengthen the administrative justice system. It is the only body with oversight of the whole of the administrative justice system in the UK, and advises the government and judiciary on the development of the system.
JUSTICE’s civil justice work has been instrumental in shaping the structural changes to the civil courts and tribunal estate being undertaken through Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Reform Programme.
Our recommendation for the introduction of a registrar in courts responsible for proactively case managing disputes and exercising devolved procedural functions is being realised through the role of “authorised court and tribunal staff” in the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff Act) 2018.
Our recent work has focused on ensuring people who are “digitally excluded” can access online justice and has considered and proposed innovative ways in which legal advice can be delivered. We are currently considering how the civil justice system can better resolve housing disputes.
JUSTICE’s work in the criminal justice sphere has led to changes that we now take for granted. For instance, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and the Criminal Cases Review Commission were all JUSTICE recommendations. Our excellent track record in this field, as well as our evidence-based, impartial and collaborative approach, means that we are trusted by decision-makers in this field.
Recent work has focussed on improving effective participation within the justice process, particularly for those with vulnerabilities, and reinforcing the presumption of innocence, through the removal of the secure dock and arguing for an effective compensation regime for victims of miscarriage of justice. Our two most recent working parties have also promoted alternatives to the formal justice system where evidence shows these to be more appropriate and efficient use of scarce resources.
JUSTICE works across the justice system and there are some themes which affect all jurisdictions. Our work to increase judicial diversity is a prime example.
Another key project over recent years has been to review how our courts are used, and to recommend more flexible justice spaces that are closer to the communities they serve, and whether our justice system can be understood by the lay people it is designed to assist. Understanding Courts recommends better information provision across the system and adaptation of legal language and procedure to enable effective participation of all parties, with appropriate support and adjustments where necessary.
Currently we are investigating how the justice system responds to major incidents, the duplication and delay of multiple processes, and how these can be made more efficient and transparent in order to secure timely justice and public confidence.