Following the latest comments from No.10 on the purpose of judicial reviews, the Bar Council
Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said: “Judicial review is a hugely important tool in a democratic society by which decisions of public authorities, including government, are subject to legal scrutiny. Far from being a mark of dysfunction, judicial review is an appropriate check on decision-making, of which a nation should be proud. Contrary to some perceptions, the government’s own figures show that applications for judicial review have fallen significantly over recent years – by 44% from 2015 to [the end of September] 2019. Cuts to legal aid have also affected individuals’ ability to bring judicial review proceedings.
“We have not yet seen details of what a ‘review’ of the judicial review process might look like, but anything that seeks to limit the ability of ordinary citizens to challenge decisions of those with power is a red flag. There must not be any snap decisions to restrict a process that goes right to the root of our society, and which helps to uphold core principles including the separation of powers and the rule of law. Rather than attempting to block the exercise of anyone’s right to challenge it, the government should have confidence in its own decisions and not fear challenge.”