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Bingham Centre launches independent review of Administrative Court


Fordham: aim is to be constructive and practical

The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law has launched its own review of how to improve the conduct of judicial review cases in light of the government’s own proposals.

The centre – which forms part of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law – is looking at how procedures in the Administrative Court, including judicial review, can be adjusted to better save and protect public funds in a manner consistent with the rule of law.

The review aims to issue an interim report by the end of this year and a final report in early 2014.

It is being chaired by leading public law specialist Michael Fordham QC of Blackstone Chambers – a Fellow of the Bingham Centre – and he will be working with Martin Chamberlain QC and Zahra Al-Rikabi of Brick Court Chambers, and Iain Steele, also of Blackstone.

Mr Fordham said the review aims to be “constructive and practical” while ensuring that rule of law standards and access to justice are safeguarded.

The review is distinct from centre’s responses to the government’s plans for reforming judicial review.

In its response to the government’s legal aid consultation earlier this year – which included proposals to reduce the availability of legal aid for judicial review, the centre questioned the underlying evidence, saying: “There is nothing to suggest legally aided judicial review claims are pursued in a reckless way that results in a relatively high number of ‘weak’ cases.

“On the contrary, there is everything to suggest that legally aided cases appear to be handled far more cautiously than those which are unfunded, and lawyers in legally-aided applications are far more likely only to pursue cases with merit.

“By reducing the viability of acting in judicial review matters, the reforms are likely to result in systemic damage… The consultation paper fails to acknowledge the highly precarious financial position of many solicitors who undertake legally aided public law work – yet the existence of lawyers willing and able to take on such work is a prerequisite of an effectively functioning system of judicial review.”

To make a submission or contact the review, click here [2].