Judicial Review: Write to your MP

26 November 2014

Dear [insert constituency MP's name here]

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND COURTS BILL

Recent amendments to Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, supported by Peers from all sides of the House of Lords, will be considered by members of the House of Commons on 1 December. I encourage you to approve the Bill in its revised form.

The original Bill attempted to lower the threshold test in judicial review cases to "highly likely", create a presumption that "interveners" would be liable for costs, and extend cost liability to those making financial contributions to a judicial review, such as friends and family of the applicant.

Amendments made by the House of Lords would preserve the discretion currently available to judges to apply existing rules in appropriate cases, and not to apply them where it would be wrong to do so. This discretion is best exercised by the judge hearing the case and Parliament should not to constrain them from applying the rules fairly.

The Lords amendments are in the public as well as the national interest. They preserve judicial discretion and enable individuals to hold public authorities to account. They maintain a key feature of our constitutional arrangements, that decision-making by public authorities should be reviewable by the courts in appropriate cases.

I would like to draw your attention to a briefing produced by the three legal bodies, the Bar Council, The Law Society, and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, which explains the importance of the Lords amendments in further detail.

I urge you to support amendments 97 through 107 to clauses 64, 65, 66 and 67.

Yours sincerely,