The Ministry of Justice has released its response to the comments generated by the consultation paper on Judicial Review that was published in December. Unsurprisingly, the Government has signalled that it intends to press ahead with most of the proposals upon which it consulted. In particular it plans to implement the following proposals:
1. Time limits
The timing for Judicial Review (with three months) will be reduced to six weeks in planning cases and 30 days in procurement cases. The Government recognised that these times scales are so short, the compliance with the pre-action protocol would be impossible, so it will invite the Judiciary to dis-apply the protocol in such cases. Given that one of the objectives of the pre-action protocol is to encourage pre-litigation resolution of disputes, it is not clear how this will promote the Government’s objective of reducing recourse to litigation.
If a claimant seeks permission for a Judicial Review and is turned down on paper, the right to renew the application orally will be withdrawn if it is certified as “totally without merit” by the Judge who considers the application on the papers. Given the number of papers in which claimants who initially fail go on to succeed at an oral renewal stage, the removal of an oral renewal in such cases will likely represent a really significant restriction upon access to justice.
A claimant who can and who chooses to renew an application orally will now have to pay a fee of £215 to do so.