Chair of the JUSTICE Board, Walter Merricks CBE

Walter Merricks
Why JUSTICE matters

In the last 10 years the justice system has seen a triple challenge as public funding for courts and legal services has been cut: the collapse in legal aid support for people involved in court cases, leading to unbalanced proceedings, at the same time as a rapid digitisation programme. The criminal justice system is pressurised as never before. Cuts have left people struggling to use a civil and family court model designed for another era, and judges struggling to administer justice fairly. Everyone knows that the former level of legal aid funding is not coming back. The challenge is to adapt the justice model so that more people can use the system without lawyer support. Policy-makers trying to design new digitised procedures need input from those who work in the system. JUSTICE is ideally placed to respond to this challenge.

For more than 60 years, lawyers and others interested in a better justice system have seen JUSTICE as the leading non-governmental organisation in the field – and the one meriting their support. Our members know through their professional practice where the system is unnecessarily defective and fails to provide accessible and efficient process – and have an insight into how things could be improved. While maintaining scrupulous impartiality and a non-political stance, over the years JUSTICE has been in a unique position to harness relevant experience and expertise to put forward authoritative and realistic reform proposals. Key to the credibility of our voice is the support we receive from the senior judiciary and from top policymakers and parliamentarians. And because we carefully research projects before embarking on them, the proposals we put forward stand a high chance of being implemented, sooner or later.

Long before anyone had heard of Corporate Social Responsibility, generations of lawyers have seen it as their personal professional obligation to contribute to the better development of the legal system and become JUSTICE members. Now nearly all the top London law firms and many barristers’ chambers contribute as corporate members. In addition, commercial institutions that benefit from confidence in the UK legal system see JUSTICE as a worthwhile destination for their corporate giving. Trusts and foundations support us because they can see our demonstrable achievement record, the energy and commitment of our management and staff, and our sound financial governance.

Whether as an individual or through your firm or chambers, we hope you will become a member and support JUSTICE.


Walter Merricks CBE