Rather unexpectedly (apparently) we are now governed by a majority Conservative government. The formation of the first Conservative cabinet since 1997 has brought Michael Gove to the Ministry of Justice. A man noted for his reformist zeal. Much of the media focus has been on the now likely introduction of a British bill of rights.

However, I suspect that Mr Gove will also be contemplating the legal aid budget and more particularly how it can be stretched further in a department that will not be ring fenced from further spending cuts.

The Ministry of Justice is also responsible for legal service regulation and it has never been obvious to me that it has seen the connection between the regulatory framework and the legal aid budget. It is entirely possible that further reform of the legal services market could unleash new entrepreneurial providers particularly in the third sector that could help square the circle between cost and justice.

This is an issue which the ever brilliant Stephen Mayson has explored in an article referred to below. There is a careful line to be drawn between ensuring that the regulatory framework protects and serves the public interest but more could be done to unleash the social entrepreneurs who could save legal aid.