Judicial reviews are under the microscope again.
The Government would like to change the application process to slim down the number of ill-founded judicial review applications, claiming they are slowing down business and undermining the economy.
But human rights organisations, barristers, lawyers, law societies, associations, charities and other interested groups have argued back that ministers simply want to avoid any more embarrassing spectacles like the fallout from the West Coast Main Line tender.
The Bar Council has said the proposals will “inhibit access to justice” and “weaken accountability” of the state. And the majority of judicial reviews “clogging up the system” are asylum and immigration applications, say lawyers such as Landmark Chambers’ Paul Brown QC.
Now, the president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, has weighed into the debate, and was due to give evidence to the House of Lords Constitution Committee on the judicial review proposed changes.
A healthy democracy has nothing to fear from the judicial review system – and lawyers don’t want to see changes that could reduce the number of top-billing, high-stakes roles.
Elsewhere in litigation:
- A Pound for your thoughts: The Government suffered an embarrassing defeat this week after a Court of Appeal ruling founds its back-to-work scheme to be unlawful. Landmark Chambers acted for a 24-year-old graduate required to work for free in Poundland
- Broken cover: Regulatory defence litigators question the relevance of director and officer policies as they claim insurers are pulling cover when executives come under investigation
- And, run for the Freehills: Another litigation defection at Herbert Smith Freehills as counsel Nichola Peters leaves for Addleshaw Goddard – following Simon Bushell out of the door