The government’s onslaught on access to justice continues with the launch of a consultation to restrict the use of judicial review procedures to challenge the lawfulness of decisions by public and government bodies and ministers.
Justice secretary Chris Grayling claims there are too many “ill founded” JR applications and they are costing the court system too much money and taking up too much judicial time. He accuses organisations of increasingly using judicial review for PR purposes or to “generate a headline”.
This is despite the government admitting that the law already contains provisions to deal with spurious claims, in that only those with sufficient interest are able to bring a case and they must first obtain permission for their case to be heard fully.
The consultation includes proposals to:
- Reduce the time after the initial decision that an application for judicial review can be lodged from three months to six weeks in planning cases
- Reduce the time after the initial decision for lodging an application from three months to 30 days in procurement cases
- Scrap oral renewals (which can be used to challenge a decision to refuse permission to bring a judicial review application) for any case which has already had a hearing before a judge on substantially the same matter, for example, at a court, tribunal or statutory inquiry
- Scrap oral renewals for any case where the application for permission has been ruled to be 'totally without merit' by a judge on the papers
- Introduce a new fee for an oral renewal of £215 (but potentially rising to £235 under separate proposals).
The consultation runs for just six weeks, ending on 24 January. To respond go to: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/judicial-review-reform