The king's speech also announced legislation to make it easier and cheaper for leaseholders to purchase freehold and avoid 'punitive service charges'. The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill wil increase the standard term of leasehold extensions from 99 years to 990 years. It will also ban the creation of new leasehold houses 'other than in exceptional circumstances'.
Responding to the speech, Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: 'The government cannot fix the justice system unless it invests in all of it. Focusing on sentencing alone is not the right approach. The long delays faced by victims and defendants in our courts are simply unacceptable and there was nothing in this speech to seriously address the crisis. The entire criminal justice system is fracturing.
'We urge the government to focus on fixing the issues in the justice system as a whole by investing in staff, judges and its buildings.'
On a similar theme, bar chair Nick Vineall KC said: 'The court system has suffered over a decade of underfunding and legal aid cuts have denied many people effective access to justice. Additional funding is urgently required both to ensure that the courts and justice system can adequately function and to enable the delivery of the draft legislation announced today.
'The Bar Council will give careful consideration to the proposals concerning whole-life sentences. There is an obvious risk that when no credit can be achieved from a guilty plea, defendants who know that they have no defence will nevertheless insist on a trial, which means that their victims have to give evidence.'
A Sheffield firm which took on thousands of cases from the collapsed Pure Group has itself filed for administration. According to court records, SSB Group Ltd gave notice of its intention to appoint an administrator on Monday. It is understood the business is in talks over a pre-pack sale as it seeks to avoid an intervention by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
A law firm owner has revealed that switching to a four-day week has boosted turnover by 22%.