A key obstacle to timely development of major schemes is the threat of judicial review. In recognition of this, the Government will soon introduce changes to speed up the process for dealing with judicial reviews and to obstruct frivolous court applications.
The key changes proposed by the Government are:
- The introduction of a fee of £215 for anyone seeking an oral hearing after their initial application for "permission" to pursue a judicial review challenge has been refused.
- Preventing challengers from utilising the oral hearing option if their initial "permission" application has been refused on the basis of its being "totally without merit".
- Halving the judicial review challenge period from three months to six weeks, aligning it with the statutory challenge period for Secretary of State decisions on planning appeals.
- Reducing the judicial review challenge period for procurement cases from three months to six weeks.
Challengers whose grounds have merit can, as previously, expect to secure permission to pursue their challenges. However, it remains to be seen whether these changes will have the desired effect.