Judicial review

Public lawyers are scrutinising the Government’s response to the Judicial Review consultation, and the associated Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which were published this month. The Bill, part 4 of which contains the provisions on judicial review, is expected to have its second reading on 24 February.

The Government’s original plan to pay lawyers for work on a permission application only if permission to seek judicial review is granted has been revised. Payment will be made for claims that were meritorious when issued, but which conclude prior to the permission decision.

The Judiciary’s consultation response, now published on www.judiciary.gov. uk, had warned strongly of the “chilling effect” of the proposals. The Government has also dropped its proposed change to the test for standing, instead focusing on financial and procedural reforms to limit the “pursuit of weak claims” and “potential for mischief”.


Residence test challenge

The Public Law Project (PLP) has been granted permission to challenge the introduction of the residence test for legal aid. Mr Justice Turner has awarded a Protective Costs Order in PLP’s favour and granted permission for the case to be heard on an expedited basis.


Ukraine rule of law warning

The Bar Council and Bar Human Rights Committee have urged the Ukrainian Government to investigate reports of serious violations of its obligations under Articles 3 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights following demonstrations in Kiev and other regions. Ukranian lawyers have reported that court hearings have taken place against demonstrators who were not given the opportunity to obtain legal representation.