On Monday 30 June 2014, after 1430, the second reading of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill will take place in the House of Lords.
Part Four of the Bill contains proposals to make significant changes to judicial review by restricting the powers of the court to provide a remedy in certain types of challenges, and by imposing higher financial risks on claimants and interveners. These changes take place in the wider context of a series of recent changes to legal aid for judicial review, as well as numerous other changes to legal aid including cuts to criminal legal aid, the removal of most legal aid for prisoners and the forthcoming introduction of a “residence test” for civil legal aid. The key changes are as follows:
- Restricting the power of the court to grant a remedy in cases where it is satisfied that a public body has acted unlawfully;
- Increasing the cost risk to which interveners will be exposed in judicial review proceedings e.g. charities and NGOs who provide assistance to the court based on their specialism;
- Making the rules on Protective Costs Orders in public interest litigation more restrictive.
By restricting the right of claimants to bring a judicial review against the State, irrespective of the legality of that particular State act, these proposals undermine the separation of powers and reduce the accountability of the State. And by exposing charities and other interested parties who act in the public interest to greater financial risk these proposals will discourage public interest litigation.
If you are in contact with any Peers (for example if you have been previously paired up with a Peer by Justice for All) please do encourage them to attend.