UK government consults on the future of judicial review in England & Wales


The UK Government is seeking views on a package of measures aimed at stemming the growth in applications for judicial reviews in England & Wales.

The proposed measures include:

reducing time limits for bringing a judicial review in relation to procurement or planning;
tightening the procedural rules for granting permission to bring judicial review proceedings; and
increasing the fees charged in judicial review proceedings.

The consultation runs until 24 January 2013.

The position in Scotland

Although the consultation does not extend to Scotland, the future operation of judicial review has also been under consideration here. Lord Gill's Scottish Civil Courts Review noted a steady increase in numbers of petitions for judicial review – and the fact that these petitions occupy a disproportionate amount of court time. While the Review recommended a less restrictive test for bringing proceedings (a move now endorsed by the Supreme court), other recommendations included:

the introduction of a general rule that petitions for judicial review should be brought within three months to reflect the public interest in challenges being made promptly and resolved quickly; and
the introduction of a requirement for permission - to give the court an opportunity to filter out claims with no prospect of success. Interestingly, the Review recommended that the requirement to obtain leave to follow Part 54 of the Civil Procedure Rules in England and Wales. Part 54 is one of the matters under review in the current consultation.

The Scottish Civil Justice Council and Criminal Legal Assistance Bill

(introduced in May 2012) will establish a single body with responsibility for making the rules of court required to implement the recommendations of the Scottish Civil Courts Review. The Civil Justice Council will also have wider policy role to advise and make recommendations on improving the civil justice system in Scotland.