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Action on time-wasting judicial reviews

New controls will tackle the soaring number of judicial review applications being made in England and Wales.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Scales of justice

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced a series of changes to drive out meritless applications and speed up the court system for people with genuine cases.

New measures confirmed today following a consultation include:

  • Introducing a £215 court fee for anyone seeking a hearing in person after their initial written judicial review application has been turned down.
  • Banning people from seeking a hearing in person if their initial written application has been ruled as totally without merit.
  • Halving the time limit for applying for a judicial review of a planning decision from three months to six weeks.
  • Reducing the time limit for applying for a judicial review of a procurement decision from three months to four weeks.

The changes complement separate proposals being considered which would also see the fee for a Judicial Review application increase from £60 to £235.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said:

‘Judicial Review should be used by people who have carefully considered whether they have proper grounds to challenge a decision. We are changing the system so it cannot be used anymore as a cheap delaying tactic.’

The changes will not alter the important role that judicial reviews play in holding Government and others to account but will instead deal with the unnecessary delays in the system and the weak or ill-conceived cases which are submitted even when the applicant knows they have no chance of success.

New figures show the number of applications rose from 6,692 in 2007 to 11,359 in 2011 – but just one in six were granted permission to proceed beyond the earliest stages and the number which were ultimately successful fell from 187 to 144.

Immigration cases make up the vast majority of the total. There were 8,734 judicial review applications made in 2011 as an attempt to overturn an immigration decision – but only 607 were considered suitable for a hearing and only 31 were ultimately successful.

Despite the low success rate, cases which were refused at the first stage in 2011 still took an average of 83 days to be dealt with, while cases which went through to a hearing took an average of 275 days.

Court rules will now be put in place to implement the changes, which are expected to take effect this summer.

Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.

Watch Chris Grayling’s introduction to the Judicial Review consultation below:

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announces plans to reform the use of Judical Reviews

Read the Judicial Review: proposals for reform consultation and response.

Published 23 April 2013
Last updated 23 April 2013 + show all updates
  1. Added link to Judicial review consultation and response.
  2. First published.