Speech by Christopher Grayling MP during the swearing in ceremony for his appointment to Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
Mr Attorney, I am very grateful for the Lord Chief Justice’s kind words.
It has long been an ambition of mine to be appointed Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor and I am hugely honoured to be here.
I know there is curiosity about having a former journalist and businessman stepping in to this high office, and not someone steeped in traditions of the legal profession, like my many distinguished predecessors.
So let me say a word about the office and how I intend to approach it.
I have the highest respect for this country’s judiciary, which rightly enjoys a worldwide reputation for integrity and quality.
I also believe very much in the rule of law, which is obviously vital for good government and prosperity.
So I am as committed as any of my predecessors to the serious, weighty responsibilities that come with being Lord Chancellor, whether that is the protection of judicial independence, the robust defence of justice, or working closely with the Lord Chief on judicial appointments and discipline.
I’m really honoured and proud to receive the Great Seal, and it’s a particular privilege to share today’s ceremony with two such accomplished men.
Lord Dyson I have not met previously. But his eminence and reputation as a Justice of the Supreme Court certainly precede him. I congratulate him on his appointment as Master of the Rolls, an office he will perform with the same distinction he has shown in the rest of his sparkling career.
Oliver Heald I have known for many years as a fine lawyer and colleague. I applaud him on a richly deserved 2-for-1 honour: taking silk and being appointed Solicitor General certainly counts as a good day at the office.
My views on the justice system are, I believe, pretty mainstream. I want to deliver reform to strengthen public confidence but also ensure that our system does much better at turning offenders away from crime. The rehabilitation revolution is my vocation.
I know that judges have been leading a wide range of reforms already and made good progress. I want to support you in your efforts to go further and faster.
No doubt we won’t always agree on everything. But I’m very conscious of my responsibility to support your role.
And I’ll defend your independence, even as I push for improvement and modernisation in our justice system.
It’s a pleasure to be here and a profound honour to serve in this high office. I look forward to working with you all as colleagues and friends and intend to live up to the big responsibilities I’ve taken on.