Parliamentary briefing: Judicial Review and Courts Bill – House of Lords second reading

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill will make significant changes to judicial review processes, alongside other provisions relating to courts.

The bill had its second reading in the House of Lords on Monday 7 February.

Our position

Our main concerns relate to proposals in part one of the bill, on reforming judicial review.

The bill aims to introduce new powers for courts in judicial review cases to suspend a quashing order.

This would mean a quashing order would only come into effect on a specified future date; essentially a prospective-only quashing order.

These new powers could also limit or remove the retrospective effect of a quashing order, so that it would not apply to actions taken before the quashing order was issued.

The bill also includes a presumption in favour of this type of quashing order, which requires judges to award them if certain conditions are met.

Key recommendations

We’re strongly opposed to both the introduction of prospective-only quashing orders and the inclusion of the statutory presumption.

These proposals will:

  • weaken judicial discretion
  • deny remedy to those affected by unlawful acts
  • have a chilling effect on judicial review

We’re also opposing a proposal to reverse the judgment in R (Cart) v Upper Tribunal.

The result would be to remove the ability for individuals to seek judicial review of a decision made by the Upper Tribunal to refuse permission to appeal.

Part two of the bill includes a number of provisions relating to courts.

We’re recommending that the government:

  • limits the ability to allow written or online indications of plea to represented parties only
  • retains the right for a defendant to elect jury trial up until the beginning of a summary trial
  • consults widely before proceeding with plans to abolish local justice areas

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