Judicial review is the process whereby a member of the public (or organisation) can apply to the court about a decision that has been made in error or unlawfully. Recently, Lord Faulks wrote a report on just this subject which the tories have founded upon in order to try and tie the hands of the judiciary, and prevent public accountability.
Lord Faulks has told an inquiry at Westminster that the Tory party have deliberately misrepresented his conclusions in order to wage war on the right to transparency, and to challenge Government decisions.
The Ministry of Justice intends to restrict judicial review on the grounds that Lord Faulks found judges are increasingly deciding the merits of laws – which should be the role of Parliament. But Lord Faulks has made his position clear by saying to MP’s: “That wasn’t the language that we used in our conclusions.”
“Despite having a number of cases drawn to our attention, we did not think there was something so badly wrong with judicial review that we should start again,” he told the human rights committee.
“Any decision to do something about it, radically, we think would be wrong and potentially contrary to the rule of law.”
No 10 has protested that legal challenges are being mounted by people not directly affected by decisions purely “with the aim of frustrating” the government.
The reality of the situation is that this particular Government just keeps engaging in s*itty behaviour, almost normalised by the press whose owners have a vested interest in the status quo. The only way for the Government to be held to account now seems to be direct challenges by concerned members of the public.
The proposed curbs planned by the Tories are widely seen as retribution for Supreme Court defeats, on Theresa May for starting Brexit without MPs’ approval and on Boris Johnson when his shutdown of parliament was ruled unlawful.
Lord Faulks, a justice minister under David Cameron, described Mr Johnson’s humiliation as a “clear indication of the constitution working”.
And he called judicial review “extremely important” in giving the public a “safety valve to prevent the executive from overreaching or acting in such a way that it is unlawful”.
Add to this the fact that Boris’s government has suffered two defeats in recent months where ministers have been found to have acted unlawfully over PPE during the COVID crisis and the solution for the UK Government is simple – shut down the means for people to find out about their unlawful behaviour, rather than take remedial action and stop doing it.