|Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice|
11 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
|Prime Minister||David Cameron|
|Preceded by||William Bach|
|Succeeded by||Helen Grant|
|Member of Parliament|
Assumed office |
7 June 2001
|Preceded by||John Major|
Jonathan Simon Djanogly|
3 June 1965
|Spouse(s)||Rebecca Jane Silk|
|Alma mater||Oxford Polytechnic|
Jonathan Simon Djanogly MP (born 3 June 1965) is a British politician, solicitor and Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Huntingdon. Djanogly has been Trade and Industry Spokesman shadowing the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Shadow Solicitor General for England and Wales and was Parliamentary Under-secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice from 2010 to 2012.
Djanogly was educated at University College School, an independent school for boys in Hampstead in North London, followed by Oxford Polytechnic in Oxford, where he was elected chairman of the Conservative Association in 1987, and he earned a Bachelor of Arts in law and politics in 1987. He took his law finals at the College of Law, Guildford, in 1988.
Djanogly was elected as a councillor for Regents Park ward in the City of Westminster in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. He unsuccessfully contested the safe Labour parliamentary seat of Oxford East at the 1997 general election where he was defeated by the sitting Labour MP Andrew Smith by 16,665 votes. Before the 2001 general election he was selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the safe seat of Huntingdon, following the retirement of former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Sir John Major. Djanogly resigned from his council seat early in 2001, shortly before the general election campaign.
At the 2001 general election, Djanogly held the Huntingdon seat comfortably with a majority of 12,792 votes and has remained as the MP for the constituency ever since. He made his maiden speech in the House of Commons on 2 July 2001. Djanogly held the Huntingdon seat (with revised boundaries) again in 2005 and 2010 with majorities of 12,847 and 10,819 respectively and in 2015 and 2017 on the same boundaries with majorities of 19,404 and 14,475 respectively.
He served on the Trade and Industry Select Committee from 2001, was promoted to the frontbench by Michael Howard as an opposition spokesman on Home Affairs in 2004, and served as Shadow Solicitor General between May 2004 and May 2010. In 2005 Djanogly was also appointed a shadow Business Minister in the team shadowing the Department of Trade and Industry (United Kingdom) (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) where until the 2010 general election he worked on corporate governance and business regulations.
Since leaving Government in 2012, Djanogly has been elected Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Governance and Joint Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Responsibility.
Djanogly was opposed to Brexit before the 2016 referendum.
Following the formation of the Coalition Government Djanogly was named on 14 May 2010 as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, a post he held until September 2012. His Ministerial role included a wide range of responsibilities such as the oversight of Legal Aid and Legal services, HM Courts Service, as well as the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Between May 2010 and September 2012 Djanogly took the lead on the reforms of Legal Aid, Civil Litigation funding and 'no win, no fee' legal schemes.
As part of the Ministry of Justice's target to reduce its spending by £2 billion, Djanogly was tasked with reducing the legal aid budget by £350 million. In June 2011 he was one of the Ministers that introduced the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill (LASPO) to Parliament. Djanogly led the Bill process and it became law on 1 May 2012.
Civil law reform
On 29 March 2011 Djanogly launched a consultation: "Solving disputes in the County Courts", initiating a general review of civil law procedures, that included; increasing the small claims limit to £10,000, creating a single County Court and extending mediation assessment to all small claims.
In an attempt to counter the litigation compensation culture in September 2011 Djanogly announced the Government's intention to ban referral fees in personal injury claims, saying that "Honest motorists are seeing their premiums hiked up as insurance companies cover the increasing costs of more and more compensation claims. Many of the claims are spurious and only happen because the current system allows too many people to profit from minor accidents and incidents." This was actioned by the ban's inclusion in the LASPO Bill, together with provisions preventing the recovery of claimant solicitors' success fees from losing defendants, intended to reform 'no win, no fee' deals.
As the Minister responsible for promoting and regulating legal services on 6 October 2011 Djanogly announced that his department would be launching Alternative Business Structures, enabling non-lawyers to invest in and own legal businesses for the first time. Djanogly called it a "landmark day for the UK legal industry" adding that "Potential customers will find legal services become more accessible, more efficient and more competitive." The move was welcomed by legal experts such as Eddie Goldsmith, chairman of The Conveyancing Association, who said that the move would "transform the way legal services are delivered".
It was further announced on 3 January 2012 that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had also begun accepting applications from organisations wishing to take advantage of the new systems and become licensed to work as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS). Djanogly said: "The addition of the Solicitors Regulation Authority marks another major milestone for UK legal services and the future of Alternative Business Structures. Customers will find legal services more accessible, providing a much more competitive and efficient service."
In February 2012 Jonathan Djanogly unveiled proposals for a major legal overhaul of the bailiff industry to clamp down on bad practices. The proposals included a new regulatory body to oversee the industry, a new complaints process for debtors and clear fees so that people know what bailiffs can charge. Jonathan Djanogly said "Too many people have experienced intrusive, expensive and stressful bailiff action and more often than not the public do not hold bailiffs in high regard, despite the fact most bailiffs carry out their work professionally. We want to restore balance to the system, improve clarity for both debtors and creditors, strengthen protection for vulnerable people and ensure that individuals, business and Government are able to collect the debts they are owed – but in a way that is fair and regulated by law." Many firms have welcomed the attempt to deal with rogue practices and say the suggestion of a regulatory body with a clear complaints process will help build the reputation of the industry.
Presumption of death
In July 2012 Jonathan Djanogly announced the Government's intention to introduce a certificate declaring someone as 'presumed dead' to help families resolve the affairs of a missing person. He explained that "The changes we are announcing today will ensure that there is a law in place that provides a simple legal framework by which families of missing people can receive the appropriate guidance and tackle the problems they face in a straightforward way." Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of the Missing People charity, said, "This announcement shows significant intention to work towards a better future for families of missing people, representing huge step towards easing their heartache with clear legislative guidance."
As a shadow Business Minister Djanogly had proposed changes to employment law and continued this in Government. In January 2011 he launched a consultation: "Resolving Workplace Disputes", jointly with Ed Davey MP (who at the time was a Business Minister). The consultation led to measures which changed the practice and procedure of employment tribunals and how disputes could be resolved without recourse to tribunals. In July 2012 Djanogly also revealed plans to tailor employment tribunal fees to encourage businesses and workers to mediate or settle a dispute rather than go to a full hearing from summer 2013.
Djanogly said, "It's not fair on the taxpayer to foot the entire £84m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal. We want people, where they can, to pay a fair contribution for the system they are using, which will encourage them to look for alternatives." Bringing a claim or an appeal to the employment tribunal is currently free of charge with the full cost being met by the taxpayer. By introducing fees, people using employment tribunals will start to contribute a significant proportion of the £84m cost of running the system. The aim is to reduce the taxpayer subsidy of these tribunals by transferring some of the cost to those who use the service, while protecting access to justice for all. HM Courts & Tribunals Service figures published in September 2014 subsequently showed that tribunals received 71% fewer claims in the quarter April to June than in the same period in 2013 – the smallest figure since records began in 2008/09.
As Minister with responsibility for the courts service, Djanogly's most testing moment came during the August riots of 2011 when a rapid decision was taken to direct the riot cases to a limited number of magistrates courts sitting 24 hours a day for seven days a week. In terms of court reform, Djanogly's two key achievements were; firstly, the merger of HM Courts Service with the Tribunals Service to create HMCTS on 1 April 2011. Secondly, following a consultation, on 14 December 2010 Djanogly announced a major reform of the court estate. This involved the closure of 93 magistrates courts and 49 county courts (out of a total of 530 courts) as well as proposals to reinvest £22 million of savings into the modernisation of the remaining court estate. Djanogly said "Access to justice is not just about access to buildings. It's about the type of justice delivered, decent facilities for victims and witnesses and efficient use of the system."
As Minister for Family Law, Djanogly's main thrust was preparing the Government's response to, and implementation of, the Family Justice Review conducted by David Norgrove, which reported in November 2011. In private family law, Djanogly championed mediation saying, "Mediation for example may well play a larger role in resolving family justice matters in the future. As well as avoiding the expense of court, it has already been shown that in some circumstances, agreements reached through mediation are better adhered to than court judgements." In public family law, the focus became a need to reduce the length of care cases which, on average, were taking 61 weeks. Djanogly said "In my view there is no time to waste in reforming a system which has in the past years under-delivered for the many families, children, practitioners and staff that it is meant to be there to support."
In May 2012 Djanogly was one of the ministers who introduced the Defamation Bill and he led on its progress through the House of Commons until it reached Report stage. The bill satisfied the coalition agreement to reform the law of defamation.
In December 2017 Djanogly voted along with fellow Tory Dominic Grieve and nine other Tory MPs against the government, and in favour of guaranteeing Parliament a "meaningful vote" on any deal Theresa May agrees with Brussels over Brexit.
2009 Expenses Scandal
In the 2009 expenses scandal it was suggested that Jonathan Djanogly improperly claimed expenses for a "cleaner" who was actually a childminder. In response Djanogly stated that the person in question was employed as a cleaner although “there would clearly have been times during evenings when she would have been there with a child alone, but this was not her job or what she was paid to do” and acknowledged that the person received no other payment for any services provided. In May 2009, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that Mr Djanogly claimed almost £5,000 on his parliamentary expenses for the installation of gates at his constituency home. The MP installed the gates following security fears, after he helped constituents threatened by animal rights activists, and he was not required to repay the sum following the Legg audit of MPs' expenses in 2010.
Djanogly voluntarily repaid £25,000 but the repayment was not, he maintained, acknowledgement that his arrangements had been improper, but rather in recognition of his part in Parliament’s collective failure to address the expenses system.
In September 2010 it was revealed that Djanology had hired private detectives in 2009 to uncover the source of leaks to media about his parliamentary expenses. Following a complaint to the UK Information Commissioner's Office by John Mann MP in connection with Djanogly's hiring of private detectives, on 27 July 2011 the Information Commissioner said that he would not be investigating Mr Djanogly for breaches of the Data Protection Act.
Regulation of Claims Management Firms
In October 2011 Djanogly was stripped of his role of regulating Claims Management firms after it was revealed he failed to disclose conflicts of interest regarding his family members holding shares in said companies. The Ministry of Justice said "The Cabinet Secretary has concluded that Jonathan Djanogly took the appropriate steps to prevent any conflict between his financial interests and his Ministerial duties. There is no evidence that he acted in any way other than in the public interest.”
In a letter to Labour's justice spokesman, Andy Slaughter, who had raised the matter, Gus O'Donnell said that while there is "no suggestion of any impropriety in relation" to Djanogly's brother-in-law's firms that "for the avoidance of doubt decisions about the regulation of individual (claims management companies) should henceforth be handled by another minister". Djanogly requested that the Claims Management Regulation Unit be overseen by a different Justice Minister, to avoid any possible distraction from this important issue after it was suggested that he and his family could personally profit. Djanogly stated that neither he nor his Labour predecessor had ever had to make a decision in relation to the claims management unit, because decisions were delegated to officials, but it seemed prudent to head off any future allegation. Claims management regulation policy however remained within his brief and on 22 August 2012, Djanogly launched a consultation to amend the conduct rules of claims managers and on 28 August 2012 announced that from 2013, the legal ombudsman would handle claims management complaints.
2017 general election
In the run-up to the June 2017 general election, at a hustings event in his constituency Djanogly was wrongly accused by a Labour activist of ignoring her correspondence. The woman claimed to have received no follow-up communications from Djanogly several months after she raised concerns over government support for childcare for children with disabilities. Djanogly denied this, and when accused of lying suggested that her intervention was related to her Labour Party activism, something she later admitted to the local newspaper when Djanogly offered to provide evidence of their extensive correspondence and the representations he had made on her behalf.
Djanogly has been married to Rebecca Jane Silk since 1991 and has two children, a son and a daughter.
- Djanogly, Jonathan (17 January 2005). "Constitutional Reform Bill". Jonathan Djanogly. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
I declare my interest as a practising solicitor.
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Jonathan Djanogly, MP for Huntingdon, admitted last year that he had paid detectives more than £5,000 to spy on local party members because he was concerned they were conspiring against him. He said later that he "over-reacted" but denied that he had done anything wrong.
- Watt, Holly (27 July 2011). "Minister Jonathan Djanogly faces investigation over 'blagging' by detectives". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 3 September 2011.
'We have today written to John Mann MP to confirm that his complaint will not be taken forward. The matters raised by Mr Mann do not appear to represent recorded personal information as covered by the Data Protection Act. A potential breach of section 55 – the Act’s ‘blagging’ offence – does not therefore arise,' said the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.
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In an interview on Radio 4's Today programme the minister said the referrals system gave people a "perverse incentive" to make unjustified claims. He said the government would be looking at several practices including referral fees, touting for business by text message, and garages selling lists of drivers involved in accidents, but added that these were the symptoms of a "rotten suing culture" rather than the cause.
- "Djanogly gives up claims management role". Hunts Post 24, a weekly free newspaper distributed in Huntingdon. Archant Regional Ltd. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
There is no evidence that he acted in any way other than in the public interest.
- "Djanogly cleared in family shares row". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
Earlier this month, it was disclosed that Mr Djanogly’s two children each held shares in the claims management companies Going Legal and Legal Link Introductory Services, which solicit people who might have a compensation claim and then sell their details to lawyers. Mr Djanogly had admitted that his brother-in-law, Ben Silk, owned the companies, but had not disclosed his children’s shareholdings.
- McKee, Ruth (18 October 2011). "New conflict of interest controversy arises in government". politics.co.uk. London: SquareDigital, a trading name of Adfero Ltd. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly has been stripped of his powers after it emerged he created a loophole in the law which could have benefited his family's complex business interests.
- "Djanogly gives up claims management role". Hunts Post 24, a weekly free newspaper distributed in Huntingdon. Archant Regional Ltd. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
There is no evidence that he acted in any way other than in the public interest.
- "Claims management regulation". London, UK: Ministry of Justice. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 14 September 2012.
- "Hunts Post". The Hunts Post. 7 June 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
- Profile at the Conservative Party
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Contributions in Parliament during 2006–07 2007–08 2008–09 2009–10 at Hansard Archives
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 1803–2005
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Guardian Unlimited Politics – Ask Aristotle: Jonathan Djanogly MP
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Huntingdon