Government taps Faulks to lead judicial review panel

Faulks: Looking for the right balance

Former justice minister Lord Faulks QC is to lead an independent panel of experts examining if there is a need to reform the judicial review process.

Though a Conservative when he was in government, the 1 Chancery Lane barrister now sits as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords.

He is joined on the panel by Professor Carol Harlow QC, emeritus professor of law at London School of Economics, Scottish constitutional law academic Professor Alan Page, and Nick McBride, a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

The other two members are both barristers at 39 Essex: Celina Colquhoun, a planning and environmental specialist and Vikram Sachdeva QC, chair of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association, and also of the Court of Protection Bar Association.

The panel makes good on a pledge the Conservatives made in their election manifesto last year. Specifically, the review will consider:

  • Whether the terms of judicial review should be written into law;
  • Whether certain executive decisions should be decided on by judges;
  • Which grounds and remedies should be available in claims brought against the government; and
  • Any further procedural reforms to judicial review, such as timings and the appeal process.

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: “Judicial review will always be an essential part of our democratic constitution – protecting citizens from an overbearing state. This review will ensure this precious check on government power is maintained, while making sure the process is not abused or used to conduct politics by another means.”

Lord Faulks said: “Together we will examine judicial review and the need to strike a balance between the right of citizens to challenge government through the courts and the elected government’s right to govern.”

Given the constitutional role of judicial review, the panel will report back later this year to Mr Buckland and also Michael Gove as Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and minister for the Cabinet Office.

Writing in The Times 2014 when he was a minister – in the wake of criticism of reforms to judicial review being carried out then – Lord Faulks said: “The government is concerned to prevent judicial review being used for collateral purposes.

“A well-timed judicial review can delay the implementation of crucial policies or projects for months or years, even when decisions are perfectly in line with due process.

“Months can be spent preparing for and defending claims when that time would be better spent taking forward the reforms this country needs.”

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