Judicial Review Reform Proposals
22 July 2021
This is the government’s response to the consultation on Judicial Review Reform, which ran from 18 March to 29 April 2021.
- After carefully considering all responses, the government intends to legislate and it is introducing essential reforms that will draw the line under some complex legal problems and strengthen the integrity of Judicial Review for its intended purpose: to hold the government to account, apply the intent of Parliament, and protect individuals.
- The present document summarises the responses to the consultation in so far as they relate to substantive (not procedural) law reform and sets out the measures which the Government is taking forward in the Judicial Review and Courts Bill.
- The consultation document included a high-level assessment of the economic and equality impacts of the policy proposals with a commitment to developing a full Impact Assessment and Equality Statement alongside the consultation response. This has taken place and the full analysis of the judicial review measures is included in the Impact Assessment and Equality statement published.
- The Judicial Review and Courts Bill can be found on the Parliament website.
A Welsh version of this document will be published as soon as possible.
The Independent Review of Administrative Law (‘the Review’) was established on the 31st July 2020 to examine trends in Judicial Review and to deliberate on any recommendations for reform. The Terms of Reference for the Review sought to direct the Panel’s attention to certain key areas: codification, non-justiciability, the grounds of review and remedies, and procedure.
The focus on these areas is reflected in the structure of the Review’s Report (‘the Report’) and the Panel have made convincing recommendations on each area. This Consultation Document is intended to complement the analysis presented throughout the Report. While not all the issues covered in the Report have been taken forward to this consultation, readers are encouraged to read it in its entirety.
The Independent Review of Administrative Law made two recommendations for change in the substantive law, as well as various recommendations for changes in procedure, as follows:
- legislating for the introduction of Suspended Quashing Orders
- legislating to reverse the effect of the Supreme Court decision in Cart and re-affirm those decisions of the Upper Tribunal to refuse permission to appeal is not subject to the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court
- changes in procedure to be considered and taken forward by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC)
- removing the requirement for a claim to be issued “promptly”, but retaining the 3-month time limit
- providing further guidance on intervenors
- providing for an extra step in the procedure of a Reply, to be filed within seven days of receipt of the Acknowledgement of Service
- In addition, the Government is considering further reforms which build on the analysis in the Report, and on some of the options, the Panel suggested but on which they did not make definite recommendations.
The Government thinks there is merit in exploring the following areas to see whether practical measures could address some of the issues identified in the Report:
- legislating to clarify the effect of statutory ouster clauses
- legislating to introduce remedies which are of prospective effect only, to be used by the courts on a discretionary basis
- legislating that, for challenges of Statutory Instruments, there is a presumption or a mandatory requirement for any remedy to be prospective only
- legislating for suspended quashing orders to be presumed or required
- legislating on the principles which lead to a decision being a nullity by operation of law
- making further procedural reforms (which would need to be considered by the CPRC)
The consultation document is split broadly into two parts. The first provides an exposition of the Government’s understanding of the constitution and its aims with regard to Judicial Review, addressing some valuable points raised in the Review’s call for evidence. We hope this provides both clarity as to our intentions and context for our proposals.
The second part of the consultation explores the specific proposals by explaining the rationale in more detail and what each proposal is designed to achieve. This is accompanied by suggestions as to how the proposals may be implemented in fairly high-level terms.
Each proposal is also accompanied by specific consultation questions. We welcome responses to those questions. Submissions which do not focus on the questions, but deal with the subject of Judicial Review more generally, are also welcome.
You will find the consultation document and IRAL report below.
You will also find below a summary of the Government submissions to the IRAL, as well as the majority of the non-Government Department submissions on the consultation website. In order to comply with data protection requirements, a small number of non-Government Department submissions (8) will not be published.