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Judicial Review

Volume 561: debated on Tuesday 23 April 2013

I have today laid and published the Government’s response to the engagement exercise “Judicial Review: proposals for reform”, which ran from 13 December 2012 to 24 January 2013.

The Government sought views on a series of proposals which aimed to reduce the burdens placed on public authorities by judicial review while maintaining access to justice and the rule of law. Over 250 responses were received from a range of stakeholders including professional lawyers, representative bodies, businesses, public authorities and interested individuals.

Having carefully considered the views of stakeholders we have decided to take forward the following proposals outlined in the engagement exercise:

We intend to shorten the time limit for bringing a judicial review from three months of the grounds giving rise to the claim to six weeks in planning cases and 30 days in procurement cases.

We will remove the right to a reconsideration at a hearing of the application for permission to bring judicial review in cases where the application is certified as totally without merit by the judge considering the application on the papers.

We have decided to introduce a fee for an oral renewal hearing. The fee will be set at the same level as the fee to fix a substantive hearing for a judicial review, which is currently £215. The fee for a full hearing will be waived if permission is granted at the oral renewal.

Responses also highlighted certain practical difficulties with some of the proposals. In view of this we have decided not to take forward proposals on clarifying the rules on when the time limit starts in cases with continuing grounds, and removing the right to an oral renewal if the same matter had already been litigated in a prior judicial hearing.

We believe that the proposals we are taking forward will tackle delays and reduce the burden of judicial review by filtering out weak, frivolous and unmeritorious cases at an early stage, while ensuring that arguable claims can proceed to a conclusion without delay.

The Government intend to invite the Civil Procedure Rules Committee to consider the necessary changes to the civil procedure rules to give effect to the reforms to time limits and the procedure for applying for permission. We will bring forward secondary legislation for the fee for an oral renewal in due course.