Ministers warn judge-made law by activist barristers slows government
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
His comments come after a freedom of information request revealed that leading QC Jolyon Maugham’s Good Law Project firm has brought 27 cases alone since October 2017 at a cost to the taxpayer of around £1.8million. Mr Maugham came to prominence in the public eye in 2016 when he represented Gina Miller in a number of cases to challenge the Brexit process.
His Good Law Project has more recently taken a number of cases against the government over issues such as procurement for dealing with the covid pandemic including a claim that £700million of contracts for personal protective equipment were illegally awarded.
Mr Maugham, the director of Good Law Project told the Sunday Express: “The cost of defending the judicial reviews we have brought is but a drop in the vast ocean of sleaze and waste that our judicial reviews have uncovered. No wonder they fear the power of judicial review.”
Mr Opperman, who is now a pensions minister, said that there had been an expansion in the use of judicial reviews since 2015.
He said: “This is evident in so many ways from the vast costs, both to the applicant and the government of the day, to the way it is slowing down the machinery of government.
“It clearly needs reform and the Prime Minister, and Robert Buckland, the Lord Chancellor, are right to have begun to tackle this.
“This reform was clearly set out in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto. This reform has begun by an independent review and then further consultation, which is ongoing.”
He added: “It is key that laws are made in parliament and the electorate know that.
“If there is a perception, whether real or imagined, that there is too much judge made law there is a problem with democratic accountability and ensuring that the courts and judiciary continue to be seen as independent.
“It is also vital this reform ensures that the process is quick and affordable both for the applicant, and the taxpayer, who is funding both the government’s defence and many of the applications. But we also need to ensure that the system is not abused by vexatious applications.”
The Government is being pushed to deliver on a manifesto promise to curtail the use of judicial reviews and limit the scope for legal challenges.
The Common Sense group of Tory MPs chaired by former minister Sir John Hayes have been pushing for reform and held meetings on the subject with attorney general Suella Braverman last year.
Miss Braverman is also in favour of reform and recently Home Secretary Priti Patel spoke to the Sunday Express about the frustration of legal challenges being used to prevent foreign criminals from being deported.
She said: “We still have these specialist immigration lawyers when we are trying to remove them.”
She added: “It should be a stain on the consciences of these people making these representations on behalf of these heinous criminals.
“They are part of the broken system.”
Source: Read Full Article