Responding to plans announced by the Ministry of Justice to reform judicial review, Chair of the Bar Council, Derek Sweeting QC, said:
“The freedom that judicial review gives British citizens to challenge local authorities and government departments is a national asset. Whether it be to oppose large scale development projects which are threatening people's homes in Norfolk, to stop school closures in Pontypridd, or to prevent an incinerator being built in Calderdale, judicial review reflects the power that ordinary people have to challenge decisions affecting them.
“Whilst there is always room for sensible adjustments and reform, the number of judicial reviews in all areas (including immigration) has been falling over recent years. Outcomes show that across the board, of those cases which proceeded to a substantive hearing, the success rate for claimants between 2014 and 2019 ranged from 39% to 44%, and the reality is that the judicial review process already includes safeguards, including a filter mechanism to ensure that cases which lack merit do not proceed.
“The Bar Council will be looking closely at this report and the impending consultation in the interests of the public’s access to justice.”