Rushed review threatens justice, Rights groups warn

Posted on 22 Apr 2021

Liberty, Law Society, JUSTICE and others have written to the Ministry of Justice expressing concern over a review which is looking into changing vital elements of our justice system.

  • Groups appeal for more time on crucial hasty consultation on accountability
  • Complexity and gravity of proposals demand careful and considered analysis
  • Liberty, Law Society, JUSTICE and others call for extension

Rights groups and lawyers have urged the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to extend the consultation period in a review which is looking into changing vital elements of our justice system.

Liberty, Law Society, JUSTICE and others have written to the Lord Chancellor expressing concern over the short response time for the Government’s consultation on its plans to  limit judicial review – a legal process which people can use to uphold their rights.

The groups have urged the MoJ to extend the deadline for the consultation, which is currently set to close on Thursday 29 April.

In a letter to the MoJ the groups warn that giving just six weeks to analyse the extent and complexity of the proposals is far too short.

The letter said: “It is in the interest of all who are affected by judicial review, including the Government, that these proposals receive detailed scrutiny from lawyers, academics, citizens, and expert organisations. A six-week consultation period is simply not adequate to achieve this.”

Sam Grant, Liberty head of policy and campaigns, said: “We all want to live in a fair and equal democracy. No one should be above the law and judicial review protects that principle, allowing ordinary people to hold government and public authorities to account.

“The Government’s plans to restrict this process are a serious threat to our ability to hold it to account and stand up to power, and must be resisted. Rushing through a consultation on judicial review would deny the very people who need this safeguard enough time to properly respond to such plans.

“If judicial review is limited, we’re on a dangerous path where governments – both now and in the future – can no longer be held to account. Liberty along with many others in civil society is extremely concerned by the way this Government is operating right now.  We must be able to stand up to power, on the streets, in the courts and through the media. We must come together and challenge these alarming proposals and protect our democratic principles.”

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