Wednesday 11 December 2019
Justice Review Update
Thank you for enabling me to provide an update to the Assembly and to the wider community on the Justice Review.
This Assembly approved the Policy and Resource Plan in July 2018 which identified the development of a Justice Framework as one of its top policy priorities.
In light of this clear prioritisation from the States, the Committee, in liaison with the Policy & Resources Committee, commissioned Gemma Buckland a subject matter expert to lead an independent review of Guernsey's justice policy. Ms Buckland is the Director of UK consultancy service Do-It-Justice, and is a highly experienced policy analyst and criminologist who until recently worked as a lead adviser to the House of Commons Justice Committee. She has been supported in her work by specialist crime and justice consultancy Crest Advisory.
The work was conducted throughout the course of 2019 involving extensive research and consultation with a wide range of organisations and stakeholders across the field of justice including Law Enforcement, Probation, Prison, Courts, the Judiciary, the Victim and Witness Support charity and many other Third Sector organisations and individuals with a particular knowledge or role in the delivery of justice. Workshops were also held with many, ranging from politicians to prisoners to gain as wide as possible understanding of the views of the community and of key stakeholders in the operation and effectiveness of the current justice system.
The approach taken with the Review has been to pose a number of simple questions about the Justice System which are:-
- Where are we now?
- How did we get here?
- Where do we want to get to?
- How do we get there?
The Committee has received a comprehensive near-final report prepared by Ms Buckland. It contains multiple recommendations and observations and it signals the opportunity for major transformation in the area of Justice, if the States accept the Recommendations. The Committee and the reviewer are in agreement that the consultation and engagement process is not yet concluded. The next step is for the final draft to be circulated this week to the key stakeholders and contributors to the report for them to check, on a confidential basis, for factual accuracy.
The report considers justice as a whole and touches on many Committees mandates and cross-committee initiatives. The Committee therefore has decided it is more appropriate to enable all States members, not just the Members already in Committees that the report be published as a green paper using Rule 17 (9)* for a general policy debate by the States in February 2020.
The Committee's view is that with something so far-reaching as this report which offers a blueprint for the future of Justice needs to be aired fully before the Committee seeks to make recommendations returning to the States next year for debate and approval of a States Justice policy.
The Committee would like to thank all those stakeholders who have contributed to this review
Thank you Sir
* Rule 17 (9), "where a Committee originating a matter for debate before the States is of the opinion that the proposals it is submitting to the States are of general policy, and where it is desirable that the principles of that policy should be considered, the Committee may have its propositions considered by the States without amendment on the understanding that if the propositions are accepted the Committee would return with detailed proposals which could be accepted or rejected with or without amendments. Where a Committee invokes the provisions of this paragraph it shall make express reference to it in its propositions."