Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom)

Ministry of Justice (United Kingdom)
United Kingdom
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice.png
Emblem of the Ministry of Justice
Ministerial Department overview
Formed 2007
Jurisdiction United Kingdom, England and Wales in respect of certain devolved matters
Headquarters 102 Petty France
Westminster, London, SW1H 9AJ
Employees over 77,000
Annual budget £8.9 billion[1]
Minister responsible The Rt Hon. Kenneth Clarke, MP, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
Ministerial Department executive Sir Suma Chakrabarti, Permanent Secretary and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery
Child agencies Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service
National Offender Management Service
Office of the Public Guardian
The National Archives
United Kingdom
Coat of Arms of the UK Government

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The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is a ministerial department of the UK Government headed by the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, who is responsible for improvements to the justice system so that it better serves the public. His department is also responsible for some areas of constitutional policy (those which were not transferred in 2010 to the Deputy Prime Minister). Priorities for the department are to reduce re-offending and protect the public, to provide access to justice, to increase confidence in the justice system, and uphold people’s civil liberties.[2] The Secretary of State is the government minister responsible to Parliament for the judiciary, the court system and prisons and probation.

The ministry was formed when some functions of the Home Secretary were combined with the Department for Constitutional Affairs. The latter replaced the Lord Chancellor's Department in 2003.




The ministry handles relations between the three devolved administrations (the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government) and the UK government. It has responsibiltiy for securing the administration of some tribunals in the whole of the UK, such as the Special Immigration Appeals Commission. It is also responsible for civil liberties, freedom of information, data sharing and protection, law reform, and burial policy across the UK. The head of the department is both Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, and some functions, such as national security criminal justice issues and EU and international justice policy, come from the former role, but certain Royal, Church, peerage, and election functions arise from the minister's role as Lord Chancellor.

England and Wales only

The Ministry does not have responsibility for devolved criminal justice policy, courts, prisons or probation matters in either Scotland or Northern Ireland, only in England and Wales. In the jurisdiction of England and Wales, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for dealing with all suspected offenders from the time they are arrested, until convicted offenders are released from prison.[3]

Other responsibilities limited to England and Wales include court administration, land registration, records management, legal aid and legal services, administrative justice, devolved tribunals, the judiciary of England and Wales, public guardianship and incapacity, restricted offenders detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, civil law and justice, the family justice system, the investigation of deaths and coroners law.

UK Crown dependencies

The Ministry of Justice has certain responsibilities in relation to the Crown dependencies. These include acting as the main line of communication between Whitehall and the governments of the islands (similar to the role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to the British Overseas Territories), agreeing royal assent to legislation passed by the insular legislative assemblies, extending UK legislation to the islands, and making Crown appointments within the islands.[4]


The Ministers in the Ministry of Justice are as follows:[5]

Minister Rank Portfolio
The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP Secretary of State
Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain
Overall responsibility, criminal justice & penal policy strategy, EU & international matters
The Rt Hon Lord McNally Minister of State Civil liberties, Freedom of Information, data protection, Crown Dependencies, HM Land Registry, National Archives, Law Commission
The Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP Minister of State Criminal justice strategy
Crispin Blunt MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Prisons, probation, youth justice
Jonathan Djanogly MP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Legal aid, HM Courts Service, civil law, family law, coroners and burials
Key Conservative
Liberal Democrat

Lord McNally is also Deputy Leader of the House of Lords. Nick Herbert works between the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. [6]

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice is Sir Suma Chakrabarti KCB, who is by virtue of his office working to the Lord Chancellor also Clerk of the Crown in Chancery.


The Ministry outlined its aims for the next Parliament in the Structural Reform Plan[7], which said the department will:

1. Introduce a rehabilitation revolution
  • Create a system introducing greater involvement of the private and voluntary sectors in the rehabilitation of offenders, including use of payment by results, to cut reoffending
2. Reform sentencing and penalties
  • Ensure that the justice system reduces reoffending by introducing more effective sentencing policies and considering the use of restorative justice for adult and youth crimes
3. Reform courts, tribunals and legal aid, and work with others to reform delivery of criminal justice
  • Reform the legal aid system to make it work more efficiently, while ensuring that we provide necessary support for those who need it most and for those cases that require it.
  • Develop court reforms to improve the resolution of disputes, maximise efficiency and improve services and work with others to make delivery of criminal justice more effective and efficient
4. Assure better law
  • Assure that law-making is transparent and accountable, safeguarding civil liberties and enabling citizens to receive the proper protection of the law
5. Reform how we deliver our services
  • Reform the way the Ministry of Justice works. Reassess our ways of working to develop more efficient shared services, match our provision ever more closely to demand, reduce duplication and streamline our functions wherever possible.


External links

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