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Judicial Review

Volume 565: debated on Tuesday 2 July 2013

There has been a significant growth in the number of judicial review claims, increasing by 86% between 2007 and 2012. Judicial review will continue to play an important role in holding Government and others to account.

Does the Minister agree that too much time and money are being spent on weak and unmeritorious cases, and that this needs to be addressed with some urgency?

My hon. Friend makes an excellent and astute point. Judicial review is a crucial check on the power of the state, and it will remain so. However, it is also subject to abuse—stifling innovation, frustrating reforms and incurring considerable cost. Our reforms will tackle the burden while maintaining the benefits of the rule of law and access to justice.

Aside from the near impossible job of getting the Attorney-General to quash an inquest, the only route that families have to challenge a coroner’s decision is through judicial review. The Government have already stopped bereaved families having a proper coroners appeal system. Is not the restriction of judicial review a further kick in the teeth for bereaved families?

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. He is well aware of the actions that have been taken for bereaved families. I will not go into too much detail now, but I will say, picking up the point about judicial review, that these proposals strike the right balance and a fair balance, and they are proportional and targeted. The system is already subject to abuse. The reforms that we will put forward will not restrict access to justice or the rule of law, nor the right to a fair hearing.