News

October 2014

Charities and NGOs call on Peers to preserve access to Judicial Review

Today JUSTICE joins charities representing children and older people, people with disabilities, bereaved families and victims of torture; and organisations working on issues as diverse as housing, fair treatment at work and in healthcare, freedom of expression and privacy online to call on Peers to vote against significant restrictions to judicial review in Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. 

Judicial review is a legal process by which individuals can challenge decisions made by public authorities on the basis that they are unlawful, irrational, unfair or disproportionate. It is a directly accessible check on abuse of power, a means of holding the executive to account, increasing transparency, and of providing redress when public agencies and central Government act unlawfully. Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill proposes significant restrictions on the procedure for judicial review. 

The effect of these proposals will be to suppress legitimate challenge; limit judges’ discretion to act in the public interest and shield public agencies from effective oversight.  

Andrea Coomber, Director of JUSTICE said:

“Judicial review is one of the very few means we can challenge public bodies and Government departments which act unlawfully. We should all be watchdogs when the Government tries to rewrite the rules in its favour. Pressing ahead with these changes will shield Government – big and small – from scrutiny, will deprive individuals without means of an often much-needed remedy and will undermine the rule of law.  MPs and Peers must act now.  The ballot box should not be the only realistic remedy for unlawful public action.”

These proposals are not principally about the law or lawyers. They will affect decisions about the countryside, about schools, hospitals, our armed forces, police and security services; about housing, healthcare, education and transport.   Ultimately these changes will affect how and whether Government will abide by the rules which Parliament sets. 

The proposals will be debated in the Lords on 22 or 27 October 2014.  JUSTICE encourages all Peers to support amendments tabled by Lord Pannick and others, designed to preserve the discretion of the court which may ensure that judicial review remains open to individuals without means and those who litigate in the public interest.

Read the Joint NGO Briefing for the House of Lords Report Stage, here.

Full JUSTICE briefing on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is available here.


JUSTICE on a ‘British Bill of Rights’

JUSTICE responds to the Prime Minister's announcement on repeal of the Human Rights Act.

Law and Literature Series: JUSTICE Appeal Launch

An Evening with Julian Barnes - 28 October

Hosted by Lord Justice Laws and Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws QC in the Great Hall at Inner Temple.

September 2014

JUSTICE team mud-run: Donate now!

We’re pleased to report that our JUSTICE staff who took part in the Back 2 the Trenches mud run on Sunday made it back in one piece. They did a fantastic job running 5km and 10km through mud, water, fire and all manner of other obstacles to raise money for the JUSTICE internship programme. 

JUSTICE offers paid internships in the summer and winter each year, giving law graduates - regardless of their background or financial means - the opportunity to gain practical experience working on law reform and human rights at a national level and providing valuable assistance to the JUSTICE legal team. 

Thank you to everyone who has already donated - especially our suppliers who generously sponsored us: Utilize, Paper-round and Service Master London. The fundraising page will be open for the rest of the week for anyone still wanting to donate; your money does make a difference. Simply click here to donate to the JUSTICE Team and give what you can. 

Mud-runners at the finish line

Mud slide

Water obstacle

Muddy runner

Obstacles


August 2014

JUSTICE to host fringe events at Party conferences

JUSTICE will be hosting fringe events at the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat party conferences this autumn.

Labour Party Conference24th September
Conservative Party Conference30th September
Liberal Democrat Party Conference6th October

Join us for refreshments and discussion as we  explore legal concerns arising from the agendas of the main political parties. The events are free and open to all party conference delegates with passes for the secure zone of the respective conferences.

For more details about the events go to our Events page.


July 2014

NGOs urge Court of Appeal to preserve access to justice in torture claims

JUSTICE joins together with the International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International and REDRESS (“the Interveners”) to urge the Court of Appeal to reconsider the High Court’s decision to strike-out the case of Belhaj & Anor v Straw & Ors.

JUSTICE briefs MPs and Peers on Residence test

As MPs and Peers prepare to vote to approve the Government's controversial new Residence test for legal aid, JUSTICE expresses concern about its legality.

June 2014

Charities and NGOs call on Peers to stand up for judicial review

Today JUSTICE joins charities and organisations from across the UK to condemn the Government’s proposed changes to judicial review. Organisations working for children, older people and bereaved families, with and for prisoners and accused people; expert in disability, mental health, torture and free speech, come together to highlight the constitutional significance of reforming judicial review.

Supreme Court clarifies the duty of disclosure post-conviction

In a judgment given today the Supreme Court considered whether there was an obligation upon the Police and Crown Prosecution Service to provide evidential material not previously seen to convicted persons seeking to demonstrate innocence on appeal or by way of application to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC). The High Court previously held when hearing this case in 2012, that there was a very narrow set of circumstances where the obligations would apply. Although the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, it today confirmed that there is a duty. Whilst it is a narrow one in order to preserve the finality of the conviction, it is far clearer, and will be easier to satisfy for those wrongfully convicted.

May 2014

Peers to debate judicial review cuts

On 7 May 2014 - next Wednesday - the House of Lords will debate a Motion to Regret the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No 3) Regulations 2014 (“the Regulations”), tabled by Lord Pannick QC.

JUSTICE has today written to all Peers urging them to support Lord Pannick’s Motion to Regret.

April 2014

Unjustified judicial review reforms restrict access to justice

JUSTICE welcomes a Report published today, by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (“JCHR”) – an influential cross-party Committee of MPs and Peers – which concludes that the Government’s proposals to reform judicial review and limit legal aid for public law challenges may be incompatible with access to justice and endanger the rule of law.

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