Why is the NHS ring-fenced but the justice system isn’t?

6 March 2015 10:24

Earlier this week, Sadiq Khan MP ‘admitted Labour could not reinstate £600m of legal aid cuts imposed by the government’. These are cuts which continue to have a very real impact… Continue reading

George Cruikshank's  bank note of 1819 (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

‘Hang ‘em high!’ – leftists for the death penalty, re Pistorius et al

23 October 2014 13:32

O, the fury of my Sisters over the risible punishment (I’ve seen longer sentences in Ulysses) handed out to Oscar Pistorius! I’m with them all the way on this one.… Continue reading

Ched Evans playing for Sheffield United in March 2012 (Photo:  Stu Forster, Getty Images Sport)

Even rapist footballer Ched Evans deserves a second chance

16 October 2014 11:21

There has been a rumbling row for a while about Sheffield United footballer Ched Evans. He was found guilty of rape and has served his time, but now many people… Continue reading


Chris Grayling is an advertisement for a Labour government

3 October 2014 13:39

Thank heavens for Ed Miliband, eh? The leader of the opposition remains the single most compelling reason to hope the Conservatives remain in power next May. A shame, then, that… Continue reading

Boris Johnson Speech on Europe

Boris Johnson is not fit to be leader of the Tory party, never mind Prime Minister

25 August 2014 10:10

Awkward, especially here, I know, but there you have it. But, look, if any other high-profile politician were suggesting the burden of proof in criminal trials should be switched from… Continue reading

Abu Hamza. Image: Getty

The Abu Hamza case shows that Britain has outsourced terrorism trials

20 May 2014 20:05

It must seem awfully peculiar to Americans that it should take their courts to convict Abu Hamza on terrorism charges, including a kidnapping he orchestrated in Yemen which resulted in… Continue reading

Image: Getty

Books and the justice establishment

4 April 2014 8:43

Every politician who engages in major reform ends up with scars on their back. Tony Blair famously complained about those scars from grappling with the public sector, while Michael Gove… Continue reading

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Would prisoners kill for her wry, pungent volumes? Image: Getty

Would prisoners kill for Carol Ann Duffy?

30 March 2014 11:34

It is of course shocking that the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling should ban prisoners from receiving books sent by their friends and relatives. We might all agree with author Philip… Continue reading

Image: Getty

How legal aid reforms are clogging up the courts

20 February 2014 18:27

Litigants in person – individuals representing themselves, rather than relying on a lawyer – have always been a feature in courts, and are the source of the aphorism ‘a lawyer… Continue reading

Assertive Blair

18 August 1979: Second class justice for immigrants

17 June 2013 16:12

Since we launched The Spectator Archive, the most read piece has been the first ever published article by one Anthony Blair in 1979, before he switched to the more informal… Continue reading


Harry Mount is wrong: Chris Grayling’s legal aid reforms will damage justice

9 June 2013 17:07

I just wonder how long Harry Mount has been waiting to put his boot into the Bar. Having a first-class degree from Oxford, membership of the Bullingdon Club and then… Continue reading

Abu Qatada smiles as he evades deportation once again in April 2012. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/GettyImages)

Countering Terrorism in Britain and France, by Frank Foley – review

4 June 2013 9:18

Have you ever wondered why we’re stuck with the radical cleric Abu Qatada? It’s a question the last four Home Secretaries will have asked as they battled, and failed, to… Continue reading

Theresa May sent a letter to Tory MPs today explaining why the government won't support a call to limit the options of foreign criminals trying to avoid deportation. Picture: Getty

Theresa May tries to deter Tory uprising on foreign criminals

18 March 2013 22:27

MPs are hard at work in the Chamber tonight: once they’ve finished voting on the Leveson amendments to the Crime and Courts Bill, they’ll move on to everything else in… Continue reading

The Conservative Party Spring Forum

Ministerial aides demand to support backbench vote on foreign criminals

18 March 2013 13:06

All eyes are on what’s happening with the cross-party amendments to two bits of legislation on Leveson, but this afternoon in the Commons there could well be another row on… Continue reading

David Blunkett

Tory campaign on foreign criminals attracts huge support

12 March 2013 18:40

Dominic Raab’s proposal to stop jailed foreign criminals avoiding deportation on the grounds of a right to family life turns out to be very popular indeed among MPs. It’s got… Continue reading

(FILES) -- File picture dated 03 July 20

Modern slavery: it happens here

11 March 2013 10:01

Slowly but surely, British court cases are revealing a once great nation of abolitionists to be a shadow of its former self.  We often celebrate the nineteenth century anti-slavery movement… Continue reading

An animal rights protester wearing an RSPCA hunting ban placard in 1988. Picture: Getty

Are campaigners using the criminal justice system to pursue their political agendas?

4 March 2013 13:12

Late last year a Judge in Oxford Magistrates’ court questioned the RSPCA for running up a legal bill of a third of a million pounds on a low-level case when… Continue reading

'Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali had hoped to carry out a wave of suicide bombings in Britain which would have exceeded 7/7 and rivalled 9/11 in terms of impact and casualties.' (Stephen Munday/Getty Images)

What if the terrorists were Jews?

22 February 2013 15:00

‘Would you say the same thing about Jews? Gays? Or any other minority?’ This is one of the witless questions asked of anyone who writes about Islamic extremism.  And it… Continue reading

Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie

Secret justice bill unites senior Tory and Lib Dem MPs

12 February 2013 11:10

Last week ministers managed to rewrite some of the protections in the controversial Justice and Security Bill while it was being scrutinised in committee: this week backbenchers MPs are starting… Continue reading


As the most persistent private prosecutor, the RSPCA has questions to answer

29 January 2013 9:28

Parliament debating how laws are prosecuted is not a rare event, unless that is, MPs are pondering the role of the country’s most persistent private prosecutor. Alongside its role as… Continue reading

Conservative MP Andrew Tyrie

Senior Tory mulls changes to secret courts bill

28 January 2013 16:15

After publishing a paper highly critical of the Justice and Security Bill this morning, Andrew Tyrie is now considering making amendments to the legislation, I understand. MPs in a Bill… Continue reading

Justice and Security Bill

The secret courts bill won’t enhance justice or make us more secure

28 January 2013 12:04

‘That Britain allowed itself to be dragged into complicity in extraordinary rendition – the kidnap and torture of individuals by the state – is a disgrace. That, nearly a decade… Continue reading


See no crime, hear no crime and speak no crime

28 January 2013 8:55

In the current issue of The Spectator, we put on the cover four words that sum up the coalition government’s approach to crime: pretend not to notice. Today’s Birmingham Mail… Continue reading

David Cameron has agreed to draft legislation on the Leveson proposals. Picture: Getty

David Cameron defends secret courts

11 December 2012 20:50

It was striking that at today’s liaison committee session the Treasury Select Committee chairman chose not to ask the Prime Minister about the economy but the secret courts bill. In… Continue reading

Chris Grayling gave evidence to the Justice Select Committee this morning.

Grayling defends stand-off with ECHR on prisoner votes

28 November 2012 14:55

Chris Grayling today defended the Government’s decision to square up to the European Court of Human Rights on prisoner votes. The Justice Secretary seemed to enjoy his hour and a… Continue reading