Federal Justice department cuts research budget by $1.2 million

The federal Justice Department has chopped $1.2 million from its research budget, and is tightening control to ensure future legal research is better aligned with the government’s agenda. Previous legal research in the department sometimes caught senior officials “off-guard ... and may even have run contrary to government direction,” says an internal report for deputy minister William Pentney.

The budget cut on April 1 of this year represents about 20 per cent of research spending, and arises from deficit-cutting measures first set out in the 2012 budget.

The reduction means the loss of eight experienced legal researchers, most of them social scientists.

The result is a diminished research capacity, which now must be better controlled from the top to ensure it supports the government policies, says the report.