YESTERDAY the former ‘hammer’ of the teachers trade unions, Michael Gove, the new Justice Secretary who wants to abolish the Human Rights Act, was parading his alleged concern for the poor.
He said that the ‘creaking and outdated’ justice system in England and Wales is failing society’s poorest, while the best legal provision is the preserve of the wealthy, declaring that ‘There are two nations in our justice system at present’.
This is not the only sphere where two nations dominate.
Gove wants to smash the workers’ right to strike and impose a system of new anti-union laws where 40% will have to vote for a strike action for it to be legal, when there is no such stipulation for the election of MPs.
On the issue of class ‘Justice’ he states: ‘On the one hand, the wealthy, international class who can choose to settle cases in London with the gold standard of British justice, and then everyone else, who has to put up with a creaking, outdated system to see justice done in their own lives.’
Rest assured he is not proposing to abolish this legal two nations or narrow the gulf between the two by restoring legal aid, whose abolition under the Tories has made it impossible for workers to seek even bourgeois justice, either in the law courts or at Industrial Tribunals.
The ending of legal aid was so controversial that the parliamentary passage of the abolition bill saw it defeated 14 times in the House of Lords, and ultimately passed by the narrowest of margins – a tied vote which meant a government victory.
He does not want to get rid of gold standard justice for the rich. In fact, he wants ‘instant justice’, speedy and cheap on a time-limited electronic conveyor belt, to be introduced to prosecute the poor!
He stated yesterday: ‘The people who are let down most badly by our justice system are those who must take part in it through no fault or desire of their own – victims and witnesses of crime, and children who have been neglected.’
However, Lord Justice Leveson, the third most senior judge in England and Wales, has pointed out that the criminal justice system must expect ‘diminished resources for years to come’ and needs to be efficient.
This is while the rich are to continue with their gold standard!
His and Gove’s proposals would see justice dispensed after the prisoner gives time-limited, remote evidence from his cell, or prison, where he will already be assumed to be guilty unless proven innocent.
Leveson’s recommendations, which Gove supports, and which would not require legislation, include: more use of technology to allow ‘remote hearings; tighter case management by judges, including, in appropriate cases, the provision of timetables for evidence and speeches; and more “high-quality equipment” in courts to ensure footage from police body-worn cameras can be shown’.
Yesterday, Gove warned of the ‘human cost’ of the ‘waste and inefficiency’ in the system.
He said too many cases are derailed by the late arrival of prisoners, video links that do not work and missing paperwork.
‘It is the poorest in our society who are disproportionately the victims of crime, and who find themselves at the mercy of this creaking and dysfunctional system,’ he said.
Prosecutions should be brought more efficiently and information should be exchanged by email or conference call ‘rather than in a series of hearings’, he argued.
He also said that evidence needs to be served ‘in a timely and effective way’, as part of reforms to end ‘excuses for failure’. Gove has recommended greater use of video and conferencing technology in court rooms, timetables for evidence with lawyers’ speeches time-limited.
Goldplated justice is to remain for the rich, while it will be a modern version of Judge Jeffreys for the poor, convicted after video evidence in a ‘remote hearing’, according to a timetable.
Under the rule of the bourgeoisie there is only class justice available, to safeguard the power and wealth and the right to rule of the ruling class.
The only way that the working class will get justice is through a socialist revolution that overthrows capitalism, smashes its judiciary and state apparatus and brings in a workers’ state and then socialism.