On 23 April, the Government announced proposals for the reform of the judicial review procedure, including eye-catching plans to slash the time limit for bringing judicial review claims. This follows the publication of consultation proposals late last year designed to address the large volume of unmeritorious cases whose effect, increasingly, is to clog up the courts and, in the planning context, frustrate the delivery of development schemes.
The time limit for issuing proceedings for judicial review will be reduced from three months to six weeks in cases relating to the grant or refusal of planning permission.
These changes will be controversial. The consultation proposals met with significant opposition, including from those who argued that the timetable for judicial review cases is already tighter than for other types of litigation. However, many will be relieved that the Government is finally taking action. The Government expects to bring forward these changes “as soon as possible.” In addition, there may be scope for further reform to streamline the judicial review process for “crucial infrastructure and housing projects”. Any measures in this respect are likely to be published by summer 2013.