Doughty Street barristers give evidence to Parliament on JR reforms

The Public Bill Committee today took evidence on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2014. Part 4 of the Bill makes unprecedented and far-reaching changes to judicial review in the latest of a series of Government decisions to impede access to the courts and limit the availability of legal aid. Some of the most concerning clauses in the Bill are:

 

1. A clause ousting judicial review in procedural irregularity cases where the defendant can persuade the court that it is highly likely that it would have taken the same decision if it had acted lawfully.

2. A series of clauses introducing financial disincentives, obstacles and costs threats in the path of claimants seeking to hold public bodies to account.

3. A clause to deter charities, NGOs and campaign groups from intervening in litigation to assist the court in cases that raise issues of wider public interest.

4. An attempt by the executive to redefine its relationship with the judiciary by making the Lord Chancellor the sole arbiter of what is in the public interest for the purposes of litigation to which the Government may be a party.

 

The Public Bill Committee will report to Parliament by 1 April 2014.

 

Martin Westgate QC's evidence can be viewed here

 

Martha Spurrier's evidence can be viewed here:

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