Proposed restrictions on legal aid for judicial review

The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No 3) Regulations 2014 (“the Regulations”) will give effect to the Government’s decision to significantly restrict access to legal aid for judicial review applications.

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. The Regulations themselves contain little detail and appear to have a broader effect than expressed by Government. We also consider that there are significant questions to be raised about their legal basis.

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.

Read JUSTICE’s briefing for individual MPs and Peers, and our letters to the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Committee and the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments below.

UPDATE: JUSTICE has written to urge all MPs of all parties to sign and support Early Day Motion 1220. This motion calls for the annulment of the Regulations and, if time is given, would allow MPs to debate the proposed changes.