In September 2021, we wrote about the then Judicial Review and Courts Bill and some specific proposed amendments. The Act came into force on 28 April 2022.

There were relatively few changes made to the Bill during its passage through the House of Commons, but the House of Lords did propose several amendments – most of which were rejected by the government.

What has changed?

As we reported in our earlier article, the most significant change is the new powers given to the courts in the form of suspended quashing orders (SQO) and prospective quashing orders (PQO) which are in addition to regular quashing orders. These essentially allow unlawful acts to remain valid at least for a longer period of time.

One change proposed by the House of Lords has been adopted. Originally there was a provision that would have required the court, where it proposed to make a quashing order, to make an SQO or a PQO where this offered adequate redress, unless there was "good reason not to do so." There would, therefore, have been a rebuttable presumption that a quashing order should be a SQO or a PQO.

This amendment means the court will no longer need to justify making a "regular" quashing order, so giving the court greater discretion as to when to use the new remedies. Under the Act, the court is required to consider a number of factors in exercising that discretion. The court's new powers will undoubtedly give rise to arguments as to when SQOs and PQOs are appropriate as opposed to a regular quashing order.

The second proposed amendment (referred to in our earlier article) regarding the removal of Cart judicial reviews has passed unchanged.

Find out more

The recent Queen’s Speech provided information on legislative developments which may effect the nature and/or scope of public law claims going forward. These include a new Bill of Rights and The Brexit Freedom Bill – both of which may have consequences in this area of law. We will be following further developments.