Legislating for injustice
Senior lawyers advise government that its reforms would be unjust
The former head of the government legal department, Sir Jonathan Jones KCB, QC (hon), has said that two of the government’s proposed reforms to judicial review “would alter the balance that currently exists between government and the courts and — depending on what happens — could potentially raise concerns and cause injustice in individual cases”.
Jones, now a senior consultant to Linklaters, was referring to the government’s wish to find new ways of ousting the jurisdiction of the courts and its plans to make remedies for breaches of the law prospective only.
I explain these proposals in a piece published this morning in the Law Society Gazette.
In a podcast interview with the Institute for Government, Jones pointed out that the Ministry of Justice was currently consulting on these proposals and nobody knew whether the government would go ahead with them. The consultation period closes in just 10 days’ time.
Jones was responding to a report published last Thursday in which the Institute for Government called on ministers and officials to accept that judicial review improves policy. The independent think-tank advised the government to review its own policy-making processes before trying to limit judicial scrutiny of ministers’ decisions.
In my Gazette article, I refer to a series of four posts by the leading academic in the field of judicial review, Professor Mark Elliott:
The posts amount to a devastating critique of reforms that are seen as, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, damaging to the rule of law.