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Administrative Law: Independent Review

Volume 679: debated on Tuesday 1 September 2020

On 31 July 2020, I announced, via press notice, the creation of an independent review of administrative law. I am today following up this announcement. This review extends from our manifesto commitment; an external advisory panel will provide the Government with expert advice on potential reform of judicial review. As Lord Chancellor, I am committed to defending our world-class and independent courts and judiciary that lie at the heart of British justice and the rule of law.

Specifically, this work aims to examine the effectiveness of judicial review as a mechanism for balancing the rights of the citizen and effective governance, considering the role of the Executive, Parliament and the courts. The review is examining four key areas outlined in detail in the terms of reference which have been placed in the Library of the House. Broadly, the panel will consider the following issues:

i) whether judicial review should be codified;

ii) whether certain Executive decisions should be non-justiciable;

iii) which grounds and remedies should be available in justiciable claims; and

iv) procedural reforms to judicial review (such as timings, appeals and “standing”).

The examination of these issues will consider the balance of the legitimate interest of the citizen being able to challenge the lawfulness of Executive action through the courts with the importance of the Executive being able to govern effectively under the law. Moreover, it will consider data and evidence and relevant caselaw on the development of judicial review and consider whether reform is justified.

It is my intention that the panel shall consider these questions thoroughly. As courts and the way they operate is a key part of our constitution, any options for reform put forward by the panel will be considered by me and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office. The panel will report back later this year and its report will be published, as will the Government’s response.

The following people are members of the panel. Each was selected on the basis that they are senior legal practitioners and eminent academics. The panel members are:

Lord Faulks QC—Panel Chair

Professor Carol Harlow QC

Vikram Sachdeva QC

Professor Alan Page

Celina Colquhoun

Nick McBride