The “creaking and outdated” justice system in England and Wales is failing society’s poorest, Michael Gove is to say in his first speech as justice secretary.
He will say the best legal provision is the preserve of the wealthy, while victims of crime are “badly” let down.
Mr Gove will call for an overhaul of the system, including measures to eliminate “waste and inefficiency”.
He will say reforms are needed to end “excuses for failure” in the courtroom.
Mr Gove will make his first speech since being appointed lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice to the Legatum Institute in Mayfair, London, on Tuesday.
Mr Gove – who succeeds Chris Grayling, now the leader of the Commons – was previously education secretary and then a government chief whip in the last government.
He will say that while the UK’s “global reputation” for legal services is “deserved”, not all of it is “world-beating”, with the finest legal provision accessible only to the wealthy.
“There are two nations in our justice system at present.
“On the one hand, the wealthy, international class who can choose to settle cases in London with the gold standard of British justice. And then everyone else, who has to put up with a creaking, outdated system to see justice done in their own lives.
“The people who are let down most badly by our justice system are those who must take part in it through no fault or desire of their own – victims and witnesses of crime, and children who have been neglected,” Mr Gove will say.
Making the case for reform of the criminal courts, the justice secretary will warn of the “human cost” of the “waste and inefficiency” in the system.
He will say too many cases are derailed by the late arrival of prisoners, video links that do not work and missing paperwork.
“It is the poorest in our society who are disproportionately the victims of crime, and who find themselves at the mercy of this creaking and dysfunctional system,” Mr Gove will say.
Prosecutions should be brought more efficiently and information should exchanged by email or conference call “rather than in a series of hearings”, he will argue.
He will also say that evidence needs be served “in a timely and effective way”, as part of reforms to end “excuses for failure”.
Mr Gove will say the case for change has been “made most powerfully and clearly by the judiciary themselves”.
Senior judge Lord Justice Leveson has said the criminal justice system in England and Wales needs wide-ranging change to make it more efficient and cheaper to run.
He has recommended greater use of video and conferencing technology in court rooms, timetables for evidence and lawyers speeches and the use of pictures gathered by police on cameras attached to their uniforms.
As justice secretary, Mr Gove’s responsibilities will also include implementing the Conservative Party’s pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act and replace it with a British Bill of Rights.
The aim is to give the UK courts and Parliament – rather than European institutions – the final say in contentious cases. – BBC