Group calls for regional administrative courts

A judicial working group has recommended that there should be four regional centres of the administrative court outside of London.

The group, led by Lord Justice May, proposes that courts should be established in Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, with High Court judges sitting outside of London more regularly.

The working group report, called Justice Outside of London, stated that nearly all judicial review and other claims in the administrative court have to be brought in the capital, resulting in “inconvenience and additional expense”.

“The essential point of proper access to justice is not achieved if those in the regions can only bring judicial review and other claims in the administrative court in London,” the report continues. “The present system discriminates against those who are not in the South of England.”

The working group canvassed public and professional opinions in the four chosen regions, discovering the strongly held view to be that administrative claims should be heard outside of the capital. The working group said: “They make what we regard as a very strong, economic, business, professional and social case for doing so.”

In April 2006 the Judicial Executive Board requested that the working group consider the arrangements of Lord Justices and High Court judges to hear cases outside of London.