The Government is inviting views on potential measures for the further reform of judicial review. The measures aim to tackle the burden that the growth in unmeritorious judicial reviews has placed on stretched public services whilst protecting access to justice and the rule of law.
The consultation exercise seeks views on proposals in a number of key areas:
how the courts deal with minor procedural defects that would have made no difference to the final decision;
a number of measures to rebalance the system of financial incentives so that those involved have a proportionate interest in the costs of the case. This includes an amended proposal on payment of legal aid providers in judicial review cases, previously included in the Transforming Legal Aid consultation which closed in June.
speeding up appeals to the Supreme Court in important cases.
a new specialist “planning chamber” for challenges relating to major developments to be taken only by expert judges using streamlined processes. This builds on the “planning fast-track” process implemented in July 2013.
The consultation exercise also explores the potential for reform in these areas:
the potential to reform the test for standing (who is able to bring a judicial review);
local authorities’ abilities to challenge nationally significant infrastructure projects; whether it is appropriate to provide legal aid for certain statutory challenges under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
the use of JR to resolve disputes relating to the public sector equality duty and whether there are suitable alternatives.
The Government would welcome responses to the questions set out in this consultation. Those who would prefer to submit their responses via e-mail may send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who would prefer to submit views in hard copy should send their responses to Judicial Review Consultation, Ministry of Justice, 4th Floor, Postal Point 4.38, 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ.
A welsh language version of the consultation is available below.
These proposals follow those in the consultation Judicial Review – Proposals for Reform, which ran from December 2012 to January 2013 and set out some of the background and the Government’s concerns about the use of judicial review. The foreword to that document said:
“we are considering whether these proposals need to be supported by a programme of more wide ranging reforms.”
The present consultation follows on from the reforms implemented as a result of that consultation, setting out further proposals and areas in which action might be taken, on which the Government seeks views.
This consultation runs for 8 weeks; the deadline for responses is midnight on the 1 November 2013.
We want to engage as widely as possible during the consultation, but more effective use of judicial review is a key part of the Government’s programme to tackle public burdens, promote growth and stimulate economic recovery, so the Government is keen to move forward with any necessary reforms quickly.