The return of justice

Published on July 22, 2015


I wonder why you read this blog? Is it because you want to hear my news? Is it because you realise that this blog is at the forefront of thinking about our economy? Or is it for the cartoons?

It wouldn’t be the first time the entrepreneur’s view of what the real reason is differs from the customer. James Dyson was enamoured of his technology but his vacuum cleaner took off when his customers realised they didn’t have to buy bags.

If it IS to keep in touch with leading edge thinking then carry on reading, because I have evidence.

I have mentioned before that if we are to be an enterprising nation we need a legal system that is fit for purpose, one that provides access based on valid claims rather than on the ability to make the cost of winning more than the benefit could ever be. Not only is this a public good in its own right but it will enhance the ability of SMEs to prosper.

So Michael Gove (Lord Chancellor but a commoner. My how times have changed) is my new best political friend (the previous one being John Prescott whose commitment to a Decent Homes Standard improved Gordon Durham’s fortunes) for taking a big step in this direction. He has announced a radical overhaul to the legal system with the aim of making it more accessible to all. Like all entrepreneurial ideas it’s easy to think that it will happen in a week or two, because if we thought of all the obstacles we’d never start. But I think it may take three… possibly a few more.

OK a couple of years, still I hope that it will be less than it took Dyson with his dual cyclone vacuum cleaner, a revolution of 5 years in the making (and then another 5 in the production and distribution).

There is much to do, replacing the DOS based system of case management ( so every Application has an ApplicationApp and every leave to Appeal has an AppealApp?) and updating the rules of evidence to recognise the advent of the er.. computer (with Gleegle docs?). But the most profound change will be at a culture level. Rather than require cases to be built to the max before appearing in front of the judge, the outline of a simple case will be reviewed by a Registrar who will give an opinion as to which side is likely to win. On its own this looks like just another piece of bureaucracy that extends the length of the process. But I predict that not only will some potential losers accept defeat, it will influence costs awards; and it will be used by after the event insurers who will be able to fund cases where “Reg” has said the little guy will win. So ability to fund won’t be the defence it has become and, more often than now at least, truth will out.

Anything else starting to take shape Malc? Well maybe taxation of private houses, a particular favourite of mine that will make us all better off. This view is now also shared by Henning Wehn, edgy but maybe not leading, oh and Lord Gus O’Donnell leading but maybe not edgy?

Watch this space.