Trevor Lunn said: “The positive approach of David Ford has helped to deliver solutions on justice and helped deliver progress on other issues around the Executive table.
“The Justice Bill that David oversaw was arguably the most impressive piece of legislation that the Assembly has seen since the Good Friday Agreement established the institutions in 1998.
“David has taken bold and decisive action in helping to deliver a quicker justice system, with the introduction to alternatives to prosecution for a minor offence. For example someone, who is a first time offender, caught stealing a newspaper in a shop might receive a fixed penalty fine instead of the taxpayer having to foot the bill for a costly court case a year down the line.
“Also, David Ford has introduced measures in his bill to protect victims and witnesses. This protection is crucial because too often in the past the very valid fears of victims went unheard and unheeded.
“He is also reforming the legal aid system to deliver better value for money while also ensuring access to justice for all. He is, like the rest of us, shocked at the massive legal fees paid out to a few solicitors and wants to make the system fairer and less costly for the tax payer.
“David has delivered positive politics in the Executive, and unlike some others has faced up to tough decisions on cuts imposed on Northern Ireland. Constructive, partnership politics is the only way forward if we are to be able to work through these tough times towards a prosperous and shared future – David Ford is leading the way and is leading change at the heart of government.”