Reforms to judicial review

Document type
Impact Assessment
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Date of publication
4 February 2014
Criminal Justice Services
Social welfare
Material type

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This Impact Assessment (IA) accompanies the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (‘the Bill’).

The policy objective is to ensure that judicial review (JR) cases, including those with potentially large impacts on economic development and growth, are resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible and that there is less scope for abuse of the system, such as bringing JR applications with an intention to delay lawful Government action. In addition limited legal aid resources should be properly targeted at those JR cases where they are needed most, to ensure that the legal aid system commands public confidence and credibility.

The options considered in this IA are: option 1 - develop a Planning Court with a separate list within the High Court of England and Wales (option 1a) and invite the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to consider introducing time scales in procedural rules (option 1b); option 2 - deal with cases grounded on procedural defects, highly unlikely to have made a difference to the outcome more effectively by bringing the consideration of those arguments forward to permission more often (option 2a) and changing (option 2b) the ‘no difference’ test (where a rectification of a claimed procedural flaw would be likely to have made ‘no difference’ to the original outcome); option 3 - expand the circumstances under which appeals may ’leapfrog’ to the Supreme Court by expanding the circumstances in which a case can leapfrog (option 3a), removing the requirement for both parties to consent (option 3b) and allowing leapfrog appeals to begin in more fora (option 3c); and option 4 - make payment from the legal aid fund to legal aid providers for work carried out on an application for permission for JR contingent on permission being granted, but with discretion for the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) to pay providers in certain cases which conclude prior to a permission decision where the provider has been unable to secure a costs order or agreement.