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House of Lords rejects judicial review reform

29 October 2014

The House of Lords has rejected the Government’s plan to change the criteria for bringing judicial reviews.

Before a judicial review can be brought, an applicant must first seek the court’s permission. As originally drafted, Criminal Justice and Courts Bill would have required courts to refuse permission if it seems “highly likely that the outcome for the applicant would not have been substantially different if the conduct complained of had not occurred.” However, the House of Lords has passed an amendment preserving the court’s full discretion in this area.

The number of judicial reviews has risen from around 4,300 in 2000 to nearly 15,700 in 2013 and the Government is clearly concerned about the costs to public bodies of defending these claims. However, it is questionable whether limiting the powers of the courts to decide which claims they wish to hear would be an appropriate or effective way of addressing these concerns.

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