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Contrary to the Government’s repeated claims, judicial review offers value for money and assists in ensuring clarity and development of the law. Research published on 16 October by the Public Law Project, University of Essex and LSE illustrates that negative assumptions justifying the Government reform of judicial review are simply not borne out by the evidence. The report concludes that such claims are “at best misleading and at worst false”.
This research comes at a time when the Government has reformed judicial review culminating in Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. The alleged objective of reform in this area is to deter abusive proceedings for judicial review. Part 4 came into force - in part - on 13 April 2015 and is expected to be implemented in full in due course. Changes implemented include:
These changes are expected to make it significantly more difficult to bring judicial review proceedings, especially for claimants without significant resources. These same claimants are often charities and third sector organisations bringing judicial review proceedings with respect to issues of significant public interest.
Addressing false assumptions
The report highlights a number of false assumptions about the system of judicial review and sets out its findings to disprove each one in turn.
This research clearly demonstrates that the concerns expressed by many with respect to judicial review reform were wholly justified (see our earlier blog here). It raises many questions about the negative impact that the totality of reforms to judicial review will have for individuals and the wider public. Will the immediate cost-saving achieved by limiting judicial review benefit the tax paying public in whose name the Government is making these changes? Or is this a false economy which will ultimately result in greater financial costs to the public purse and much wider social costs? This research suggests the latter.
Either way, it is clear that this is research that the Government itself should have commissioned long before implementing significant changes to such a fundamental check upon the exercise of state power.
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