Dominic Raab is new Justice Secretary
So it’s all change at the MoJ – and indeed across the whole of government – again. Apparently, it took a long time for Dominic Raab to agree to his demotion from Foreign Secretary to to Justice Secretary but the simultaneous promotion to Deputy PM supposedly swung the day. Intriguingly, he was replaced as Foreign Secretary by Liz Truss who was regarded as a particularly unsuccessful Justice Secretary in 2016/2017. We also have a new Prisons and Probation Minister in Victoria Atkins. Alex Chalk has left the MoJ to become Solicitor General and Chris Philp left to go to DCMS. No fewer than three of the MoJ ministers also have ministerial duties at the Home Office which makes me wonder whether someone is thinking of doing away with the MoJ, with all its responsibilities going back to the Home Office like the olden days (pre-2007).
Here are my traditional short profiles of the Ministers alongside their roles and responsibilities.
Dominic Raab – Justice Secretary
Mr Raab went to Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, and studied law at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and for a Masters at Cambridge, winning the Clive Parry Prize for International Law. He started his career as a business lawyer at City law firm Linklaters, working on project finance, international litigation and competition law. He also spent time on secondments at Liberty (the human rights NGO) and in Brussels advising on EU and WTO law. Mr Raab later worked at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office between 2000 and 2006 on a range of issues from investor protection to war crimes policy.
He was first elected Conservative MP for Esher and Walton in May 2010. He has been at the MoJ before as Minister for Human Rights and then Minister of State. He has also been Minister of State for Housing, Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary.
His responsibilities at the MoJ are:
- Oversight of all portfolios and Ministry of Justice strategy
- Oversight of departmental COVID-19 response supported by other ministers according to portfolio
- Oversight of international business and future relations with the EU
- MOJ support for the Union
- Resourcing of the department
- Functions of the Lord Chancellor
- Judicial policy including pay, pensions and diversity (these and other operational decisions affecting the judiciary are reserved to the Lord Chancellor)
- Corporate services
Kit Malthouse – Minister of State for Crime and Policing
Mr Malthouse attended Sudley County Primary school and then Liverpool College before studying Politics and Economics at Newcastle University. He is a chartered accountant, founding a midlands-based finance company, which he now chairs.
He was a councillor on Westminster Council from 1998 to 2006. He was a member of the London Assembly from 2008 to 2016. He served as Deputy Mayor for Policing 2008 to 2012 (working closely with Boris Johnson who was Mayor of London at the time) and Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise from 2012 to 2015. He was elected as Conservative MP for North West Hampshire in May 2015.
Kit Malthouse was appointed Minister of State in the Home Office and Ministry of Justice on 14 February 2020. He has previously been Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service and Minister of State for Housing.
Mr Malthouse is regarded as a close ally of the Prime Minister and although he holds the same post as before the reshuffle, he has been promoted to attend Cabinet.
His responsibilities at the MoJ are:
- Cross-cutting Criminal Justice System issues
- Support to the Secretary of State on the Criminal Justice Board and supporting the Prime Minister’s Crime and Justice Taskforce
- Electronic monitoring
- Reducing reoffending
- Domestic abuse and Violence
- Rape Review
- Victims and Witness policy
- Drugs and Mental Health
- Secure School project delivery
- Crown Dependencies
Victoria Atkins – Minister of State (Prison & Probation)
Victoria Atkins replaces Lucy Frazer as Minister for State. She studied law at Cambridge University and became a criminal barristers specialising in prosecuting serious organised crime. She was first elected as an MP in 2015 and has already served as Minister for Women (Jan 2018 – Feb 2020) as well as Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Home Office since 2017. It appears that she is keeping the Home Office role where she is responsible for modern slavery, domestic abuse and victims among many other issues. Her new responsibilities at the MoJ are:
- Prison & Probation operations, policy, reform and industrial relations
- Public protection (including Parole Board, Imprisonment for Public Protection and Serious Further Offences)
- Offender health
- Female offenders
- Transgender offenders
- Veteran offenders
- Foreign national offenders (joint work with Chris Philp MP)
- Offender rehabilitation and release
- Reducing Reoffending (joint work with Kit Malthouse MP)
- Extremism, Release On Temporary License and Home Detention Curfew
- Electronic monitoring (joint work with Kit Malthouse MP)
- Youth Justice
Tom Pursglove Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Mr Pursglove describes himself as coming from a policing family. He was previously Director of Together Against Wind, the national anti-wind farm campaign and was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Corby & East Northamptonshire in May 2015. He has been an assistant whip since 2019 and was on the Committee for the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is currently going through parliament. He has a ministerial role at both the Home Office and the MoJ.
His responsibilities at the MoJ are to be confirmed:
- Foreign National Offenders
- Human Rights
- Court & tribunal fees
- HMCTS reform programme
- Marriage & Divorce
- Family Law & Justice (including legal aid)
- Tribunals (including legal aid)
- Immigration justice
- Miscarriages of justice
- Departmental finance
And at the Home Office:
- access to work, benefits and services
- foreign national offenders
- illegal immigration strategy
- overseas development aid
- Immigration Enforcement
- animals (illegal wildlife trade)
- sponsorship of Border Force and immigration enforcement directorates
- supporting Lords Minister on corporate affairs, including the Spending Review and Budget
- COVID-19 impacts on business as usual function of asylum and returns systems, detention and Border Force
James Cartlidge – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State
Mr Cartlidge’s professional background is as an entrepreneur, having founded Share to Buy, a shared ownership property portal, mortgage broker and host of the ‘London Home Show’. He was previously a volunteer ‘dragon’ to the homelessness charity St Mungos’ Broadway, acting as a small business advisor, sitting on a panel to decide which clients of the charity would receive grants to start a small venture. Mr Cartlidge has been the MP for South Suffolk since 2015. He has previously been Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jeremy Hunt (in his roles as Health Secretary & Foreign Secretary) as well as being PPS to the Defence Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequeur . His responsibilities at the MoJ are:
- Criminal law & justice
- Legal Aid
- Commons shadow for Lord Wolfson QC
- Court & tribunal transparency
- Mental capacity, neurodiversity & Office of the Public Guardian
- Race disparity
- Victims & Witnesses
David Wolfson QC – Under Secretary of State
Mr Wolfson was born in Liverpool in 1968 and went to King David High School, Liverpool, he read Oriental Studies and Law at Selwyn College, Cambridge, graduating in 1991. He attended the Inns of Court School of Law and was Called to the Bar at Inner Temple in October 1992, where he is now a Bencher. He practised in commercial law, from Chambers at One Essex Court, Temple.