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Out-Law News 1 min. read

Government proposes to halve time limit for judicial review applications

The time limit for applying for judicial review could be cut from three months to six weeks under proposals in a consultation document published by the Ministry of Justice. 

The consultation document (38-page / 204KB PDF) also sets out proposals to restrict the number of repeated applications that can be made.

Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling said in the document that the proposals were aimed at ensuring that "the right balance is struck between maintaining access to justice and the rule of law on the one hand, while reducing burdens on public services and removing any unnecessary obstacles to economic recovery on the other".

"We want to ensure that weak or frivolous cases which stand little prospect of success are identified and dealt with promptly at an early stage in proceedings, and that legitimate claims are brought quickly and efficiently to a resolution," the document said. 

The current time limit for challenging a planning decision by judicial review is three months. The Government proposes to bring this limit down to six weeks, to make it "consistent with the time limits for making an appeal".

For cases which have been refused permission on the papers where there has been a prior judicial review hearing on the matter the paper proposes to remove the right to an oral renewal of the application for permission. The Government said that existing rules, which allow up to four opportunities to renew applications, "undermine the benefit of the requirement to obtain permission and create greater uncertainty for public authorities".

The document also proposes to increase the fees that are payable when bringing judicial review proceedings. Currently, a fee of £60 is payable for making an application and a further £215 is  payable if the matter is permitted to proceed to trial.

The Government proposes to increase both these fees to £235, saying it was concerned that the current fee levels do not reflect the costs incurred in providing judicial review hearings. It also proposes that the same fees should apply to oral renewals, which are not currently charged.

The document said that there has been "significant growth" in the use of judicial review over the last decade. In 2000 there were around 4,250 applications for judicial review and in 2011 the number had risen to over 11,000. However, the Government mainly attributed the growth to an increase in applications related to immigration matters, which represented over 75% of all applications. 

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