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UK’s top lawyer talks on campus

The Attorney General Dominc Grieve QC MP spoke on campus in February 2011

The government's chief legal advisor spoke on campus this week about providing an efficient and quality justice system despite national cuts in public spending. 

Sussex played host to the Attorney General, the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, as he delivered a lecture on 'The Criminal Justice System: Meeting the Challenge' on Wednesday (8 February). 

Mr Grieve's lecture looked at how the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will evolve in times of austerity, without compromising standards of quality or fairness. 

With a requirement to reduce the CPS budget by 24% by 2014-15, the Mr Grieve said that crucial to efficiency and quality were:

  • effective case management within and between the magistrates' courts and the Crown Court;
  • increased digitisation of criminal justice processes;
  • and improved co-operation between those involved in court advocacy. 

Alongside many law students, academics and criminal justice professionals from across the region, the Attorney General's audience included:

  • Sussex alumnus Mike Fuller, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service
  • the Chief Crown Prosecutors for Kent and Sussex,
  • His Honour Judge John Tanzer,
  • and the Assistant Chief Constable for Sussex. 

Questions from students and practitioners ranged from witness protection to the future of open prisons and the Parliamentary debate on voting reform for prisoners. 

Third-year law student Matthew Dent, said: "The Attorney General's lecture was great, giving a fascinating overview of the criminal justice system, and providing comprehensive answers to questions.  I was very impressed - he stuck to the legal and practical aspects, and stayed out of the party political." 

The Attorney General is the latest high profile speaker attracted to campus as part of the series of 'Issues in Criminal Justice' lectures, convened by Professor Stephen Shute on behalf of the Sussex Law School. 

The previous Attorney General, Baroness Scotland QC, gave a lecture during the 2010 series. 

The next lecture in the latest series is by Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, on Wednesday 2 March. 

Professor Shute, Head of the School of Law, Politics and Sociology, said: "The insights which senior figures such as the Attorney General can provide to our students, as well as to faculty and members of the wider legal community in the region, are invaluable.  

"And by providing an informed audience, I know that we offer an opportunity for engagement which is refreshing and stimulating for our guest speakers."

The full text of the lecture can be read on the Attorney General's website.

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By: James Hakner
Last updated: Monday, 28 February 2011