As the Judicial Review and Courts Bill begins its parliamentary journey, take a look at PLP’s briefings and case studies.

On Monday 18 October, MPs will debate the Judicial Review and Courts Bill which seeks to change remedies in judicial review.

Clause 1 of the Bill creates a presumption that a judge issuing a quashing order should make it ‘suspended’ or ‘prospective only’.

Director of the Public Law Project Jo Hickman said:

“This Bill will make this and future governments less accountable for their actions and make it harder for people to defend their rights when the state steps out of line.”

“Introducing a presumption on the use of prospective only remedies means asking the judiciary to implement a harmful fiction: that unlawful state actions should be treated as lawful. It is like accepting that you’ve done something wrong and then saying ‘Yes, but for this period of time, we must all pretend it was ok’.

“This Government is asking Parliament for a get out of jail free card. That is not right. If you do something wrong, you should acknowledge the consequences.

“The presumption on remedies throws hurdles in the way of people seeking justice. There will be an increased risk of satellite litigation, of cases taking longer, and higher costs. Judicial review will be harder to use, less fair and more expensive.

“Judicial review is a low volume jurisdiction. The number of cases which are lodged each year is consistently falling. Poor cases are filtered out early and parties most often settle before they even get to court. We are still wondering what problem this Bill seeks to solve.”

Clause 2 of the Bill introduces provisions to ‘oust’ Cart judicial reviews.

Cart judicial reviews are mostly used in immigration and social security cases to identify serious errors in law. They have prevented the removal of people to hostile regimes where they risked torture and murder, and brought justice to benefit claimants who had been treated unlawfully.

The Government’s stated intention is that this clause is used as a prototype for further ‘ouster’ clauses designed place public authorities beyond reach of the courts, even if they behave in a way that would be regarded as unlawful.

Jo Hickman, Director of the Public Law Project said:

“Cases where Cart JRs have been used concern matters of life and death. They are a vital safeguard and cost a relatively tiny amount of money.”

“Ouster clauses are a carte blanche for unlawful decisions and actions by the state. Clause 2 should be removed from the Bill.”

Parliamentary briefing:

Read PLP’s Second Reading briefing on the Judicial Review and Courts Bill

Media briefings:

Read our media briefing on Clause 1 – Remedies in judicial review

Read our media briefing on Clause 2 – Cart judicial reviews

Case studies:

Read case studies on quashing orders – Clause 1

Read case studies on Cart judicial reviews – Clause 2