Tensions on the bench spark Admin Court shuffle

Mr Justice Collins’s role as lead judge of the Administrative Court has been made redundant as Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) ­president Lord Justice May takes a hands-on role in the court.

Collins J, who remains as an administrative judge, was a staunch opponent of launching the administrative courts onto the circuit, something that will take place next spring.

May LJ chaired the ­Justice Outside London working party, which proposed regionalisation of the court, and is a supporter of the ­initiative. As such his views were in direct opposition to those of Collins J.

“It makes sense that you can’t have a lead judge in place who doesn’t agree with the way the court’s moving,” a judicial source said.

In a memorandum to May LJ at the time of the consultation, Collins J voiced his concerns that regional administrative courts “will not be cost-effective, will not provide the service which the users are entitled to receive and will create problems for the court generally”.

The Judicial Office said that, with the new Lord Chief Justice Sir Igor Judge still acting as the head of criminal justice, it was inevitable that the QBD president would change.

A ;Judicial ;Office spokesman said: “One of the president’s priorities is to address the working of the Administrative Court as a whole, and as such it’s logical that he takes a direct role.”