Judicial Review: proposals for reform
The Government is seeking views on a package of measures to stem the growth in applications for judicial reviews. The measures aim to tackle the burden that this growth has placed on stretched public services whilst protecting access to justice and the rule of law. The engagement exercise seeks views on proposals in three key areas; reducing the time limits for bringing a judicial review relating to procurement or planning, bringing them into line with the appeal timetable which already applies to those cases.
It also seeks views on removing the right to an oral renewal where a judge refuses permission where there has been a prior judicial process, or where the claim was judged to be totally without merit. The right to appeal to the Court of Appeal would be on the papers. Finally, it seeks views on the introduction of a new fee for an oral renewal so that fees charged in Judicial Review proceedings better reflect the costs of providing the service. If the oral renewal is successful, the fee for post permission stages would be waived.
Over 250 responses to the engagement exercise were received from a range of stakeholders, including professional lawyers, representative bodies, businesses, public authorities and interested individuals.
The Government response can be found below. This summarises the responses received and sets out the reforms we intend to take forward and those proposals we have decided not to pursue.
Under the reforms we are taking forward, we will:
- reduce time limits for bringing a claim from three months to six weeks in planning cases and 30 days procurement cases;
- introduce a new fee for an oral renewal hearing, where the claimant does not accept a refusal of permission on the papers, and asks for the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing (an "oral renewal"); and
- remove the right to an oral renewal where the case is assessed as totally without merit on the papers.
The changes aim to tackle delays and reduce the burden of Judicial Review by filtering out weak, frivolous and unmeritorious cases at an early stage, while ensuring that arguable claims can proceed to a conclusion without delay.
- Judicial Review: proposals for further reform - Government response, 206.6 kB (PDF document)