The Campaign has joined a coalition of more than 30 NGOs urging peers to support amendments to Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which proposes significant restrictions on the procedure for judicial review.
Judicial review is a legal process by which individuals can challenge decisions made by public authorities on the basis that they are unlawful, irrational, unfair or disproportionate. It is a directly accessible check on abuse of power, a means of holding the executive to account, increasing transparency, and of providing redress when public agencies and central Government act unlawfully.
In a joint briefing, the NGOs say:
We represent issues, individuals and groups which are affected by public decision- making.
The effect of these proposals will be to suppress legitimate challenge; limit judges’ discretion to act in the public interest and shield public agencies from effective oversight.
These proposals are not principally about the law or lawyers. They will affect decisions about the countryside, about schools, hospitals, our armed forces, police and security services; about housing, healthcare, education and transport.
Ultimately these changes will affect how and whether Government will abide by the rules which Parliament sets.
We support amendments to the Bill tabled by Lord Pannick and others, which broadly reflect the recommendations of the JCHR.