In response to the release of the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) report ‘Implications for Access to Justice of the Government’s Proposals to Reform Judicial Review’ today, Yasmine Ahmed , Director of Rights Watch UK said:
“We strongly support the JCHRs report and its conclusions. We agree that the Government has not demonstrated by clear evidence that judicial review has “expanded massively” in recent years, that there are real abuses of the process taking place or that current powers of the court to deal with such abuse are inadequate. This is extremely concerning as the Government’s reforms are without exception, about restricting access to judicial review for claimants.
Judicial review is at the heart of the rule of law. It is one of the most important means by which the Government and other public bodies are held accountable for the lawfulness of their decisions and actions. It ensures that officials who exercise public power are subject to the law, rather than being a law unto themselves. We strongly agree with the JCHR that any restrictions on judicial review must be proportionate, reasonable and based upon clear evidence as to their necessity.
As stated in our submissions to the JCHR, we agree that the reforms constitute a potentially serious interference with access to justice. For example, they significantly deter important interventions in judicial review proceedings and act as a barrier to claimants bringing legitimate judicial review actions. In so doing, there are no complementary restrictions on defendants who may be responsible for unnecessary delay and costs.
We urge the Government to carefully consider the JCHR report and recommendations, the submissions of NGO’s such as Rights Watch (UK) and the suggestions of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law in their report ‘Streamlining Judicial Review in a Manner Consistent with the Rule of Law’. We also urge the Government to consider the inherent conflict that exists in combining in one person the roles of Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, as is evidenced by these reforms.”
For more information on this release contact Yasmine Ahmed (Director) on (+44) 0208 004 0941 or email firstname.lastname@example.org