On 31 July 2020, the Government established the Independent Review of Administrative Law (“the Review”), consisting of a panel of six practitioners and academics, and published its Terms of Reference (“the TOR”).
The Review is tasked with considering options for reform to the process of Judicial Review (“JR”). On 7 September 2020, it launched a call for evidence (“CFE”) on “how well or effectively judicial review balances the legitimate interest in citizens being able to challenge the lawfulness of executive action with the role of the executive in carrying on the business of government, both locally and centrally.”
YLAL has undertaken two evidence gathering exercises to inform our response for the Review:
a. On 23 September 2020, we hosted a virtual roundtable discussion about the Review with a panel of 11 junior public lawyers with more than 100 virtual attendees sharing their views (see Annex 1).
b. Between 29 September - 16 October 2020, YLAL conducted a survey of legal aid lawyers about how JR operates (see Annex 2).
In formulating our response, we have considered the priorities for the Review as set out in the TOR and the CFE. We have decided to focus on aspects of JR that our members have direct experience of to ensure that our response is evidence based.
Our members have extensive experience of how JR can secure relief for the most disadvantaged in society; the causes of unlawful decision-making that lead to JRs; and how to reform the rules on JR to improve access to justice. However, our members are less well placed to address issues of standing and justiciability as they rarely arise in a social welfare law practice.
As such, our response focuses on three areas:
a. The role of JR;
b. How to reduce the need for JR;
c. How JR should be reformed.