Many of the great British institutions have taken a pounding in recent times. The BBC, Fleet Street, politicians but is it now time for lawyers to take some flack? In our magazine cover feature, Nick Cohen writes that many foreign nationals are taking advantage of our legal system to solve their disputes. On this week’s View from 22 podcast, Freddy Gray examines the effect these cases are having on our justice system:
‘It’s a huge compliment that people feel the British justice system is a place where they can get a fair trial and sort things out in a very thorough and proper way. But at the same time, a huge amount of money from global wealth is piling into the English legal system and warping the way it works.
‘You’ve got a situation in which the state cannot compete with the salaries that QCs can make in the private sector. No one is going to cry for judges earning pensions of over £100,000 a year. But the fact is they could be a QC and earn £100,000 a case. There’s a damaging effect on how British justice works.’
Yesterday’s autumn statement appears to have been an improvement on George Osborne’s disastrous budget in March. As James Forsyth reports in this week’s political column, the aim of the statement was to promote stability. Examining the the announcements, Fraser Nelson suggests it was a mixture of good and bad news:
‘There are two parts to this budget. What George Osborne did was good and a small step in the right direction. It was an overall tax-cutting budget; it cut tax for the low paid. The difficult decision was to increase tax on the middle class by hauling more people into 40 per cent tax barrier and I imagine he will get clobbered for that in the press. But I think it’s the right decision because youth unemployment in Britain is at such terrible levels.
‘All this was overshadowed by the horrible medium-long term forecasts. When Osborne first took office, he expected by 2015 to have abolished the deficit. Instead, he’s going to have the worst deficit in the western world — that’s a pretty far cry from wanting to abolish it. Other measures (such as unemployment) are pretty grim. Nothing is really going right for him at the moment; we’re going to have seven years to get where we were meant to be. Not even in the 1930s were we out of action for that long.’
And what happened when Britain’s top editors gathered at No.10 to discuss the future of press regulation? Listen with the embedded player below to hear the inside story from the Spectator’s editor Fraser Nelson. You can also have the latest podcast delivered straight to your machine by subscribing through iTunes. As ever, we’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.