Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

‘Reforming’ judicial review

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Under the heading ‘Unclogging the Courts’, on 19 November 2012, the Justice Secretary announced that he planned to introduce changes to judicial review – the legal process available to those wishing to challenge decisions taken by government and other public bodies. The announcement said that there would be a consultation exercise, presumably with a Consultation Paper.

Although promised, no Consultation Paper has yet appeared. Measures stated to be in the Justice Secretary’s sights include:

  • Shortening the length of time following an initial decision that an application for a judicial review can be made in some cases – and stopping people from using tactical delays
  • Halving the number of opportunities currently available to challenge the refusal of permission for a judicial review, from the current four to two
  • Reforming the current fees so that they cover the costs of providing judicial review proceedings.

This is an extremely important announcement which has the potential to do great damage to an important area of law and practice that has developed over the last 50 years.

The Minister of Justice is attempting to sell the argument on the basis that changes will result in swifter justice outcomes; the Prime Minister was at the same time selling the proposed changes as a way to reduce the number of challenges to major economic infrastucture developments, such as the building of new airports and high speed railways.

These ideas will undoubtedly be extremely controversial. Updates will appear here in due course.

To see the original announcement go to


Written by lwtmp

December 5, 2012 at 11:54 am

Posted in Chapter 4, chapter 6

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