Judicial Review may be denied to many

A blog by Mark Elliott draws attention to a recent statute which gravely undermines the rights of citizens.  Section 84 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015  states that the High Court

      (a) must refuse to grant relief on an application for judicial review, and
(b) may not make an award … on such an application,
if it appears to the court to be highly likely that the outcome for the applicant would  not have been substantially different if the conduct complained of had not occurred.

That means, Elliott suggests, that there will be no effective remedy for breaches of procedure, such as the failure to give reasons for a decision.  I’d be concerned that it also reduces the already limited rights of benefit claimants to processes that are transparent, accountable and fair.

The 2015 Act applies throughout the UK, but the specific provision only applies to England and Wales, because the precise wording is an amendment of a section in the 1981 Act which has that restriction.  This could imply a parting of the ways for judicial review in England and Scotland.

2 comments

  1. Paul Spicker

    It’s difficult to get to judicial review: the starting point is that you’re expected to have exhausted all existing avenues for redress before you begin the process. I don’t know, because it would depend on the courts, but I suspect that a claimant based in Wales would be referred back with the expectation that other options must be tried first.

    The reason Judicial Review was so effective in dealing with homelessness is that the options to remedy the situation were quickly exhausted, leading to relatively rapid access to the courts; one of the reasons why the rules have been so much less helpful in benefits is that in the past at least there have usually been a range of hurdles to pass first. I’ve suggested before that in Scotland we could have a fast track JR process relating to decisions not made timeously; if these new rules were to be applied here, I’m not sure that would help much.

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