Walker Morris

Planning for the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2014

The government recently published its Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2014, which seeks to amend a number of areas of law. This article will focus on the proposed reforms to judicial review and cost-capping orders, which will have an impact upon planning and environmental matters — the extent of the impact of the proposed amends remains to be seen.

One of the most significant introductions in the bill is the proposed amendment to the judicial review process. The bill introduces a requirement for the High Court (and the Upper Tribunal where appropriate) to consider, when determining whether to grant permission to apply for judicial review, whether it is ‘highly likely that the outcome for the applicant would not have been substantially different if the conduct complained of had not occurred’. If the court concludes that the outcome would not have been ‘substantially different’ without the conduct complained of, then the court must refuse permission to apply for judicial review. The aim is to speed up the judicial review procedure and prevent ‘unmerited’ claims from making their way before the court at an early stage.

The bill also introduces the requirement for the applicant, when seeking permission to apply for judicial review, to provide information relating to the financing of the application. This information includes the source, nature and extent of financial resources available (or likely to be available) to the applicant to meet the liabilities arising in connection with the application. The aim is to increase transparency when determining who is funding the judicial review application so that costs can be fairly allocated between the parties…

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