JUSTICE is delighted to officially announce the launch of the Administrative Justice Council. JUSTICE will be providing the Secretariat functions to the Council which will be chaired by The Right Honourable Sir Ernest Ryder, Senior President of Tribunals. The Council will be the successor body to the Administrative Justice Forum which was abolished in April of this year.
The Council will be the only body with oversight of the whole of the administrative justice system in the UK, advising government, including the devolved governments, and the judiciary on the development of that system.
The scale of Administrative Justice is vast with tens of millions of decisions made by public service bodies every year leading to hundreds of thousands of complaints and tribunal appeals. It spans not just the administrative courts but all tribunals and ombudsmen in the UK. It spans areas as diverse as immigration and asylum, social security, housing, education, health care, planning, tax, employment and public law.
The Council will be concerned with the oversight of a system that generates tens of millions of decisions made by public service bodies every year in addition to hundreds of thousands of complaints and tribunal appeals. Many of the decisions taken by government departments are reported to be of poor quality: in 2016, appeals before the relevant tribunals were successful in 43 per cent of immigration and asylum cases, 61 per cent of social security and child support cases and 88 per cent of special educational needs and disability cases. Such decisions affect some of the most vulnerable in society: asylum seekers, immigrants, those in social housing and/or claiming benefits, those with disabilities or special educational needs, prisoners, pensioners and victims of police misconduct.
We are therefore very pleased to be supporting the Council to deliver improvements to the Administrative Justice system.
The AJC will assume and build upon the role of the Administrative Justice Forum. It will have the following aims:
• to keep the operation of the administrative justice system under review;
• to consider how to make the administrative justice system more accessible, fair and efficient;
• to advise the Lord Chancellor, relevant ministers in the devolved administrations and the judiciary on the development of the administrative justice system;
• to provide a forum for the exchange of information between Government, the judiciary, and those working with users of the administrative justice system; and
• to identify areas of the administrative justice system that would benefit from research.
The AJC’s purpose will be to help make the administrative justice system increasingly accessible, fair and effective by:
• playing a pivotal role in the development of coherent principles and good practice;
• promoting understanding, learning and continuous improvement; and
• ensuring that the needs of users are central
JUSTICE will provide the AJC with an independent, non-partisan and dedicated secretariat function. JUSTICE will also act as a liaison between ministers and civil servants and the AJC. Through pro bono partnerships, one or more law firms will provide venues for AJC meetings and ad-hoc research capacity; JUSTICE will also seek other pro-bono and charitable sources to support the work of the Council.