Skip Main Navigation
Share this page
9 July 2024
Wider justice system

We’ve written to the new justice ministers upon their appointment.

The text reads: new justice ministers

The new government under Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has appointed several noteworthy people to key positions, which could signal a new approach to key issues in criminal justice, including court backlogs and prison capacity.

The new justice ministers come into office at a point of crisis in the justice system. Magistrates are key to reducing backlogs in courts and ensuring fair and timely justice, so we’ve written to the new ministers to inform them about the MA, the vital work that magistrates do, and to share our key asks.

We provide biographies of the justice ministerial team below.

Shabana Mahmood, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Shabana Mahmood has been appointed as the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, marking a historic moment as she becomes the first observant Muslim and only the second woman to hold this ancient office. Elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Birmingham Ladywood in 2010, she started her career at the Bar before entering politics, holding senior shadow briefs in justice, home affairs, business, and the Treasury.

She will be sworn in as Lord Chancellor at the State Opening of Parliament on 17 July.

James Timpson, Minister of State for Prisons

In a groundbreaking appointment, businessman James Timpson, known for his commitment to rehabilitating ex-offenders as the CEO of the company Timpson (best known for services like key cutting and dry cleaning), has been named the new prisons minister.

Although not an elected MP, Timpson will take his seat in the House of Lords, where he will focus on addressing the critical issues facing the prison system. Timpson’s innovative approach to justice, emphasising rehabilitation over punishment, comes at a crucial time when prison capacity is strained, and the system is teetering on the edge of failure. His appointment could mean we see novel contributions to tackling the crisis in the prison population.

Heidi Alexander, Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice

After stepping down from parliament in 2018 to become Deputy Mayor for Transport in Sadiq Khan’s cabinet, Heidi Alexander returns to parliament as the Labour MP for Swindon South in Wiltshire. Alexander brings a wealth of experience from her previous roles, having served as a councillor in south-east London for six years and as the MP for Lewisham East from 2010 to 2018. During her parliamentary tenure, she held the position of shadow health secretary. In her new role as minister of state in the Ministry of Justice, she will be responsible for overseeing courts, legal aid, and legal services.


We look forward to working with the new ministers to ensure magistrates are high on the agenda for the new government. We will continue to update members about our engagements and meetings with ministers. Please keep your eyes on our website and social media, as well as eNews, for updates.