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New controls to outline delay causing judicial reviews

Date: (23 April 2013)    |    

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Delay causing judicial reviews in English courts that hold up building projects and immigration decisions will be put under control according to plans to be unveiled by ministers.
Applications for reviews holding public bodies to account had been rising and stood at 6692 in 2007 to 11359 in 2011.
There will be a new fee for hearings in person when written applications are rejected and a new time limit to apply for planning decision reviews.
But critics are saying that this was one crude filter that may stop those who lack the means. And the measures were seen as stopping those who cannot prepare cases swiftly rather than those whose cases lack merit they argue.
Individuals and organisations can seek a judicial review if they think a decision by a public body has been made unlawfully.
The decision may be correct or not but the judge who reviews a decision would only look at the way the decision was reached
The Ministry of Defence said that just one in six of judicial review applications from 2007-11 were granted permission to proceed beyond the earliest stages.
Furthermore, the number that was ultimately successful fell from 187 to 144, it added.
Majority of judicial review applications are seen in immigration cases with 8734 such applications made in 2011 of which only 607 were deemed suitable for a hearing and only 31 were ultimately successful. Other area of concern for the government was delays in building projects due to such reviews.
The new controls would be taking effect this summer would include a £215 court fee for hearings in person after initial written applications have been rejected.
Where such applications are ruled as being totally without merit, people will be banned from seeking a hearing in person.
And the time limit for applying for a judicial review of a planning decision will be halved, from three months to six weeks.
The proposed controls have followed after a consultation which ran from December to January.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, said that judicial reviews should be used by people who have considered carefully whether there was proper grounds to challenge a decision.
He added the system was being changed as it could not be a tool for a cheap delaying tactic.