The imminent General election

There are many different ways in which the judicial system could be reformed, even though some of them do pose a number of disadvantages. Apart from the ten suggested in Item A, ideas such as replacing the Lord Chancellor with a department of justice have been put forward. This would eliminate the main problem of the Lord Chancellor being unaccountable, and would provide a group that would be answerable to Parliament and have the same accountability as every other Government Department.

Also, a Supreme Court may be a good alternative to the court of final appeal in the House of Lords, especially if an independent commission rather than the Prime Minister selected the members. This would not only prevent selection bias as demonstrated in the US, but also strengthen the separation of the judicial powers and the Lord's powers to ensure a safeguard for citizen's rights. The public could even vote for the judges of their choice in an election, although this would take a lot of time and money, and if there was a low turnout rate then it may be a wasted effort.

Despite this suggestion enhancing democracy in the country and possibly even enhancing sovereignty, there is the possible threat of the media influence corrupting voting behaviour and with the recent European elections, the imminent General election and the possibility of referendums on the Euro and other issues, British citizens may be less willing to contribute to the appointing of the judges. The costs of solicitors and barristers fees are extremely high, so if the fees of legal action were reduced, the judicial system would not only be fairer but would also enable more people to ensure their rights.

The first step, introducing a 'no win, no fee' format was followed by a major reform of the free legal aid system to allow every citizen the right to a just trial. The Human Rights Act gives every citizen the right to a fair trial by an impartial tribunal, so now the judicial system will have to follow up on this law. Another solution to the high costs could be to remove barristers' monopoly in court, so barristers would lose their monopoly on representing clients in the higher courts. Instead, salaried lawyers working for law firms and for the Crown Prosecution Service would be able to represent clients in court.

From Item A, there are various ideas that would make sense and various ones that probably wouldn't work in the judicial system. To replace the adversarial system that encourages artificial competition between lawyers with an inquisitorial system would be a good idea as younger judges have more chances of making a career in Law. This would make the judicial system possibly cheaper, and would make cases shorter, although it may be a problem as younger judges may have less experience than older judges, and so may give incorrect judgements.

If a specialist track for becoming a judge were set up similar to the one in Germany, young lawyers would get the chance to choose specialist training courses instead of becoming solicitors or barristers. This would be a good idea as it would broaden interest in law, and it works in Germany so could potentially work in England, however, it would be expensive to set up, and it may lessen the chances of making a top judge as there would be more competition.

To draw up league tables would be a short term advantage to make judges perform well, but it might turn into the same situation as we have with schools; the competition and importance of league tables often undermines the actual quality of the teaching, and schools that are at the bottom of the list feel inferior and sub- standard. If the same was to happen in the judicial system, there would be a lot more competition and judges might resort to dismissing cases and caring more about their position in the league table than the job itself.

It would cause elitism problems and money problems also as judges may argue about their pay and facilities. If more petty offences such as shop lifting were dealt out of court by issuing on the spot fines, it would almost certainly save time for judges to focus on more important cases, and would be cheaper to carry out than a full case. However, it may not work as much of a deterrent if the criminal is wealthy and can afford to pay out fines, and it may be a problem deciding where to rule the line on petty and serious crimes.

If a group of para-legal advisors were to provide cheap advice, leaving lawyers to work with court action, it would certainly save money and time, but the group would have to be fully qualified and unbiased to provide a worthwhile purpose. People with similar cases who are brought to the courts as a group of people with similar situations would not only save time and money for both sides of the case, but would also be able to possible categorise different cases.

However, it may be difficult to categorise various cases as most cases have different circumstances, and so it may not work. If this idea to reform the judicial system was proposed and didn't work, it would create a number of problems for the judges, the government and the citizens involved in the cases. Computer-based systems in libraries and advice centred would probably save time in the long run, but cannot guarantee the same professional advice as humans, and similar to the previous point, it would be hard to categorise many cases due to the differing circumstances.

Although it would save time for solicitors, lawyers and barristers, not all cases can be solved on computer software, and the possibilities of crashes, errors, mistaken advice and computer misuse would all pose problems, which would probably rule is a bad idea. All these suggested ways would possible work in the UK judicial system, but there are many disadvantages with certain ideas that would introduce even more problems which would defeat the object of reforming the judicial system to improve it.