New cuts to legal aid for judicial review

Proposed restrictions to legal aid for judicial review claims are unnecessary and ill-considered. Because of the way in which the Regulations have been put forward, they may not even be debated in Parliament. JUSTICE is calling on individual MPs and Peers to table motions against the reform.

On 14 March, the Ministry of Justice published Regulations to give effect to the proposal to cut legal aid for judicial review claims. The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No 3) Regulations 2014 (“the Regulations”) will come into force on 22 April 2014. From then on, any claims issued pursuant to a legal aid certificate will only be paid for if permission is granted.

JUSTICE is concerned that – in light of the significant constitutional function of judicial review – these changes are unnecessary and ill-considered. They will, in our view, have a damaging effect on the right of individuals without means to secure advice and representation for the purposes of pursuing a judicial review. In turn, this will inhibit transparency and accountability in public decision making and the long-term development of public and administrative law.

Yet, since the Regulations have been tabled as ‘negative resolution’ instruments, it is unlikely that they will be debated in Parliament unless individual MPs and Peers act. JUSTICE has written to both of the Parliamentary Committees which scrutinize delegated legislation to raise our concerns. We are also urging individual MPs and Peers to consider tabling motions against the reform.

For further information, read our full briefing.