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02 November 2020

Response to Call for Evidence Independent Review of Administrative Law

The Law Society of Northern Ireland has lodged a Response to the Call for Evidence by the Independent Review of Administrative Law.

To inform the response, the Law Society formed a Working Group, chaired by Peter Madden, Chair of the Criminal Law Committee, and arranged a virtual workshop, chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Justice McCloskey, to consider the issues raised and receive the views of practitioners in public and private practice.

The Society agreed that judicial Review is an essential feature of the justice system in the UK and is a fundamental mechanism for individuals, organisations, NGOs, businesses and others to challenge decisions and actions of public bodies to ensure that they have acted in accordance with their procedures, policies and powers. It also provides the ability to enable citizens to assert their fundamental individual rights and to seek remedies when powers have been unlawfully applied or abused. 

Points raised by the Society in its Response included:

•           Concerns about the intention behind the review in the context of recent comments by the Government on the rule of law and legal practitioners.

•           Lack of consideration given to the implications of a review on devolved administrations.

•           Without judicial review there would be lack of accountability and lack of redress resulting in an impact on wider justice matters.

•           Reducing the scope of judicial review through codification will result in inconsistencies and a reduction of rights for individuals.

•           Court statistics do not show that there is an abuse of judicial review in Northern Ireland.

•           Frivolous and vexatious cases are effectively filtered out at the Leave stage.

Overall the Society’s view was that limiting judicial review and attempting to frustrate its use and availability was unacceptable and worrying.



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