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Bar Council responds to introduction of Judicial Review and Courts Bill

The Chair of the Bar Council, Derek Sweeting QC, has responded to the introduction of the Judicial Review and Courts Bill in the House of Commons. He said:

"The Lord Chancellor, in introducing this Bill, says he sees himself as a 'constitutional plumber'. There's no leaking tap. Lord Faulks' independent review of judicial review found that the system was in working order.

"One positive element is that Government has backed away from some of the more extensive changes to judicial review that were identified in the consultation and recognised the need to ensure that judicial review remains within the control of the courts. Caution is needed around any attempt to limit its scope.

"Governments and public bodies must be effectively held to account by the public via the courts. Decisions that affect people's lives, whether they arise out of the pandemic or a local authority's planning decision should be lawful. The right to challenge them, within limits which are already strictly defined, is an important part of our constitutional checks and balances."

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill was introduced to the House of Commons and given its First Reading on 21 July 2021. For the Bill, as introduced, click here. For the text of a speech about judicial review given by the Lord Chancellor at Policy Exchange, click here.