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Victory for judicial review cases

2nd Apr 2015

Lawyers who challenge the decisions of the government and public bodies will now be paid whether or not their judicial review cases reach the permission stage, after it was confirmed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that it was not going to appeal the ruling of the High Court that the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling’s plans to limit judicial review applications were unlawful.

In April 2014, regulations were created which made payment dependent on whether the claim reached the permission stage or not; these regulations were ordered to be quashed last week following the successful challenge by four law firms – Ben Hoare Bell, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Mackintosh Law, and the Public Law Project, working together with housing charity Shelter – of the lawfulness of Chris Grayling’s reforms.

The regulations caused the number of judicial review applications to drop by 30%, a statistic which the court said caused “concern”.

The High Court’s decision means that the work done on judicial review permission applications will be paid in accordance to the scheme before the regulations of 2014 were put into place, and will not depend on whether or not the claimant gets to the permission stage, or subject to the discretion of the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) to pay where the permission stage is not reached.

Simon Garlick, a consultant at Ben Hoare Bell, stated that the regulations would have had a “chilling effect” and made lawyers “less available” to bring cases forward. He went on to emphasize the importance of the ruling in not allowing this to be the case, as the amount of money that would have been saved by the regulations would have been “miniscule.”