Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
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Commission responds to government proposals for further reform to judicial review
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has submitted its response to the Ministry of Justice’s proposals for further reforms to judicial review. The analysis highlights areas where the Commission concludes the changes as proposed would have adverse impacts on the opportunity for individuals and organisations to hold public bodies to account for their decisions.
Judicial review provides an important check on the exercise of power by public authorities, and ensures that their decisions are lawful. It is also the main way of testing whether public authority decisions are compatible with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Following close scrutiny of the proposals including the test for assessing the standing of claimants in judicial review cases and proposals for restricting legal aid for judicial review claims, the Commission found that if implemented, they would deliver limited costs, savings and run the risk of causing delays in the court process.
Mark Hammond, CEO of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:
'The Commission has conducted a careful review of the Government's proposals and has highlighted where they would be likely to restrict access to justice for people looking to challenge decisions made by public bodies.'
'Judicial review is there to raise serious concerns about a public body's decision making, and no-one should face unnecessary barriers in bringing a genuine case. Systems are already in place to filter out weak cases, and there's no real evidence that these reforms are needed. The right to go to court is an important protection for all of us and any changes made to the administration of justice must preserve the basic rights of fair and equal access to the courts.'
For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 0161 829 8102, out of hours 07767 272 818.
Notes to Editors
The response of the Equality and Human Rights Commission to the Ministry of Justice proposals for further reform can be found here – Consultation responses
The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission. It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain. It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.