Westminster update: Government abandons statutory presumption of judicial review and Courts Bill

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Help with our practice certificate fees and business plan consultation

We have launched our consultation with members on our proposed business strategy and the funding we are seeking from income from practice certificates.

The consultation takes place over seven weeks, from April 7 to May 27.

What do you want to know

Bar Victory: Government Abandons Legal Presumption of Judicial Review and Courts Bill

The government accepted a key recommendation from the Law Society and agreed to remove the statutory presumption from section one of the Judicial Review and Courts Bill, in a major influential victory for the Law Society.

Removing the presumption was our top priority to improve the bill.

Its removal means that the long-established and fundamental principle of the legal system – that all remedies are discretionary – will continue and ensure fair results in judicial review cases that fit the circumstances of the case at hand.

The victory over presumption was the culmination of nearly two years of campaigning and engagement by the Law Society around the government’s plans to reform judicial review.

The bill will be debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday next week, during which the lifting of the presumption will be formalized.

In exchange for the government’s concession on the presumption, we will not oppose the other proposals for judicial review contained in the bill.

The Minister of Justice resigns

On Wednesday April 13, Lord Wolfson resigned as Minister of Justice.

In his resignation he said his decision was prompted by the recent news that the Prime Minister had received a notice of fixed fine for breaches of confinement.

As of now, no replacement announcement has been made.

Junior Lords minister appointments often take longer than Commons minister appointments, so it may take some time before a replacement is confirmed.

Human Rights Act: the committee endorses our recommendations

The Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report on the reform of the Human Rights Act on 13 April.

We submitted written evidence to the committee’s investigation, and a number of our positions were reflected in the report.

The report was almost entirely opposed to the government’s proposals to reform the Human Rights Act, noting that the committee is “concerned that the proposals and their consequences run counter to three fundamental principles of law human rights “.

The report says it does not think there is any justification for replacing the Human Rights Act with the UK Bill of Rights in the form proposed by the government.

In particular, the report does not support the government’s proposals to weaken the obligation in section 2 of the Human Rights Act for UK courts to take into account judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. man, saying it would likely lead to “legal uncertainty, and increase the time and cost of litigation”.

Furthermore, the report does not support the repeal or reform of Section 3, which it says would “weaken the protection of human rights in the UK”.

Read our response to the government consultation

Ministry of Interior signs offshore asylum deal with Rwanda

Home Secretary Priti Patel made a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday May 17, announcing that the UK had signed an agreement with Rwanda, to send refugees who arrive illegally in the UK to East Africa.

Patel said the measure would have a chilling effect on those intending to travel to the UK illegally and would therefore reduce the number of asylum seekers engaging with smugglers.

The Home Secretary also said a nationwide dispersal system was to be introduced, which would ensure that the burden of housing asylum seekers was shared more evenly across all local authorities.

The minister faced criticism from both sides of the house, with MPs asking Patel for cost estimates and evidence that such a deal would deter asylum seekers from crossing the sea by illegal and dangerous means.

Questions about the safety of asylum seekers in Rwanda have also arisen, given that the UK has previously called for investigations into cases of torture and disappearances there.

The minister called these concerns “insults” and repeatedly said that Rwanda is a safe country, trusted by the EU to resettle asylum seekers.


We will work closely with MPs and peers to influence a number of bills and inquiries:

If you have come this far…

Read our response to the government’s proposals for criminal legal aid and see what action needs to be taken to reverse the decline of our justice system.