Reforming Judicial Review?

24 January 2013

The Government has consulted on a number of possible changes to the judicial review process. The justification given for the need to reform is that the Government “is concerned that the judicial review process may in some cases be subject to abuses…These proceedings create delays and add to the costs of public services, in some cases stifling innovation and frustrating much needed reforms, including those aimed at stimulating growth and promoting economic recovery”.

The changes proposed in the consultation are in three areas: altering the time limits within which some types of judicial review cases must be brought; changing the procedure for applying for permission to bring judicial review proceedings in some cases; and, changing some of the fees charged in judicial review proceedings.

We have responded to the Government’s consultation. In summary, our views are:

  • The Government has brought forward little or no evidence to show that the “problems” that its proposed measures purport to address are in reality problems at all.
  • The proposed measures may have the unintended consequences of accelerating the issue of judicial review proceedings and increasing the costs of public authorities in dealing with claims, increasing the work load of the Court of Appeal and adding delay to the judicial review process.
  • The proposed measures will at best have a marginal impact on the central problem with judicial review, which is the length of time it takes for a case to be finally determined 
  • The proposed measures should not be taken forward.


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