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We have submitted a robust response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation, Judicial review—proposals for further reform. The consultation closed on 1 November. The proposals are an attack on the freedom of charities to pursue action in the courts.
The ministry proposes to make it more difficult for charities such as ours to take cases to judicial review, by limiting those who can appeal. It wants to reduce the opportunity for third-party intervention, and restrict the use of protective costs orders—and much more.
The reforms are based on the government’s misapprehension that judicial review is delaying infrastructure projects; is being used as ‘a means of generating publicity and prolonging campaigns’, and that ‘unmeritorious applications [are being used] to delay, frustrate or discourage legitimate executive action’. It has little evidence that this is so.
We believe that these reforms will unfairly prejudice organisations like the Open Spaces Society which at all times act in the public interest, and only get involved in legal action as a last resort, to pursue their charitable aims. It will mean that only those with the resources will be able to fight cases in court.
We are delighted that lawyers, such as Bates Wells Braithwaite, are trenchantly opposing the plans.
Read Kate’s blog on the topic.