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Independent review of island legal services begins

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Lord Edward Garnier QCLord Edward Garnier QC, with support from the Department of Home Affairs, has begun a full review of legal services in the Isle of Man.

The review follows a report from the Tynwald Constitutional and Legal Affairs and Justice Committee in November 2020 which concluded that reform was needed.

A key part of the recommendations in the report was that an independent review should take place, from someone who had not practised law in the Isle of Man, to consider the issues highlighted in the report and make recommendations for implementing improvements.

In April 2021, Tynwald approved the report, including some amended recommendations and a response from the Council of Ministers. Since then work has been done during the COVID-19 pandemic and change in administration to find a suitable candidate to undertake the review, and Lord Garnier was appointed.

Edward Garnier is a highly experienced QC in England & Wales and Northern Ireland, who is an expert in Public Law and Judicial Review with many years’ experience working with governments and other agencies who want to ensure they comply with international standards. He also has vast experience in politics, having been an MP for 25 years and served as HM Solicitor General; he is now in the House of Lords. 

The independent review will consider and produce options to implement the Tynwald approved recommendations, recognising the need for improvements while still maintaining the distinct character of the Island’s legal system. It will also review and recommend reform of the current regulatory and legislative framework in which legal services are provided in the Isle of Man.

A dedicated webpage has been set up to collect comments and submissions as part of this review.

Professionals within the legal services sector, including the Law Society and its members as well as those who practise law here, but are not members of Manx Bar, are all encouraged to submit their views.

The review also hopes to engage with consumers of legal services, whether members of the public or commercial entities, so that they are able to participate in the review too. 

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Jane Poole-Wilson MHK, said:

‘I am keen for this independent review to consider the views of a wide range of stakeholders. The webpage has been set up so that everyone, from professionals who provide legal services to members of the public who are consumers of legal services, are able to submit their comments. Lord Garnier will not be able to hear everyone share their views in person, so it’s important that he has these online submissions for consideration.’

She added;

‘This independent review is an incredibly important piece of work to deliver reform that supports growth of high quality and suitable legal services on our Island for individual consumers and the wider economy, and I commit to driving forward any changes or recommendations to improve the accessibility, quality and delivery of these services.’

The webpage will be open for submissions for around six weeks, until mid-April.  People can also email or send submissions by post c/o Legal Services Review, Department of Home Affairs, Tromode Road, Douglas, Isle of Man, IM2 5PA.

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