Judicial review – more changes on the way?

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Summary: The Justice Secretary has indicated that more changes to the judicial review system may on the way in relation to whether a person has a sufficient connection with a case when applying for JR.

It was reported on 29 July that the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, is looking at making some more changes to the judicial review system to prevent the regime from being abused “by groups who may not have a direct interest in the issue at hand but simply want to cause delay or disruption to plans or generate publicity for themselves.”

We understand that Ministers are looking at whether to change the test as to whether a person has a sufficient connection with a case when applying for JR so that only people with a direct link to policies or a decision can challenge the decision, rather than the existing test which allows anyone with a sufficient interest to apply.

Even if reforms to the existing test are made, it remains to be seen if the changes can make any real difference to the JR regime, which is currently beset with other problems, such as delays in the Administrative Court and a limited pool of judges who are experienced in Planning matters.  The recent codification of the law relating to protective costs orders has also removed a potential deterrent for claimants to start JR proceedings as they now have the security of knowing that their exposure to costs is limited in the event of their losing the claim.

Watch this space as more information becomes available.  It is likely that a wholesale review of all aspects of the process will be necessary if the Government’s objectives are to be met.

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