Leading Public Law firm Bindmans LLP has published its detailed response to the ‘call for evidence’ issued by the Independent Review Panel on Administrative Law. The Panel is charged with examining what can be challenged using judicial review and how well the procedure works.
John Halford, Joint Head of the firm’s Public Law Team said today:
The process, scope and cost of judicial review have been reviewed in detail eight times over the last three decades, including by the Government itself just six years ago. None of these reviews found evidence that radical reform was needed. On the contrary, judicial review claims impact on a tiny proportion of administrative decisions and that impact is overall positive, with most cases being positively settled or won. Judicial review as an available remedy spurs public authorities to make sound decisions in the first place and to reconsider and resolve problems quickly. It is a very efficient system. There do need to be reforms to protect ordinary people and small businesses from the cost risk of losing, increase Legal Aid availability and streamline the procedure. But changes of the kind the Review’s Terms of Reference hint at are under consideration are simply not warranted. Judicial review is a vital part of our legal system because it helps ensure that public bodies exercise the power entrusted to them lawfully – and so are subject to the law just like citizens. The Review Panel should take great care not to undermine this. We urge them to be constitutional conservationists, not iconoclasts.