He repeated what he had said “for a long time now”, that the legal aid system in crime and in family work did not recognise efficiency. “I would much rather have a system in which we recognise the level of responsibility” so that say if a five day case is done in three days “that merits being better paid”.

He explained that he had approved the change in the Criminal Procedure Rules, as of 4 October, which now allows a Crown Court judge to set timetables, something which civil judges have been able to do for a decade. “I am very keen for judges in the Crown Court and the advocates appearing in the Crown Court to understand that there has to be a timetable for many cases.” In response to other questions he explained where he thought the adversarial system was appropriate in cases involving children.

“Something of the rigour of the adversarial system” is right if there is a serious allegation of physical or sexual abuse, but in “the ordinary private law cases” where the parents simply could not agree about what is best for the children “the adversarial system leaves a great deal to be desired because the adversarial system means winning and actually there is no winner in the context of a child case”.

Crime and family, he also pointed out, carry with them the emotive issues which are normally lacking in civil justice, which “has always been the poor relation of the administration of justice.

“My strong impression is that the civil justice system works pretty well” and in fact pays for itself. The problem is that the “costs are prohibitively high. The curse is, ‘May you be involved in litigation’—well that’s fine, but here’s the crunch—‘when you are in the right’.”