The Law Centres Network has joined other organisations in endorsing a briefing for lawmakers (available below) on proposed restrictions to Judicial Review.
Judicial Review is the main tool available to people who are affected by decisions and actions of public bodies and would like to challenge them. As such, it is an important way in which citizens can hold public bodies to account, so they are not able to act unlawfully with impunity.
Earlier this year, Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), a cross-party body, raised serious concerns about proposals by the Ministry of Justice to restrict access to Judicial Review.
JCHR was worried that, beyond protecting Judicial Review from abuse, the aim of reducing access to it seemed to be "to reduce the scope for it to be used by the government's political opponents." JCHR has reasserted its objections last week.
The three main professional bodies for lawyers have also expressed their fears that limiting access to Judicial Review would have a 'chilling effect' on access to justice.
The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, through which government is looking to introduce these restrictions, is at an advanced stage of deliberation in the House of Lords.