Following Lord Faulks’ evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on 16 June, PLP Director Jo Hickman has said that the Government’s current approach is making it harder for the public to engage with its plans for constitutional reform.

Jo Hickman, Director of the Public Law Project said: “In the light of Lord Faulks’ comments yesterday, the public interest in publication of the Government’s full submissions to the IRAL has intensified.”

Just two weeks ago, in response to an FOIA request from the Public Law Project, the Ministry of Justice refused to publish the Government’s IRAL submissions in full. Last week the Office for Statistics Regulation confirmed that figures used by the Government to justify restrictions on judicial review are incorrect. PLP will be appealing the Ministry’s refusal.

“Judicial review is fundamental to our constitutional arrangements and to ensuring that people can hold current and future governments to account. As Lord Faulks told the Joint Committee on Human Rights yesterday, it exists to prevent the executive from overreaching or acting in a way that is unlawful. 

“We should not even have had to ask the Government to publish its submissions to the independent panel. This evidence should be in the public domain so that assumptions can be tested and public and Parliamentary debate can be properly informed. Constitutional reform should not be characterised by secrecy and unreliable data.

“The Government’s current approach diverts both energy and goodwill – it makes it harder for people to give informed and thoughtful consideration to its proposed restrictions to judicial review.”