The Government has announced a broad intention to reform access to Judicial Review, mainly by raising fees and imposing tighter time limits for applications.  

Judicial Review is the procedure by which decisions by public bodies can be challenged. From a healthcare perspective, it can be used to challenge certain decisions of NHS Trusts, or the decision of a coroner at an inquest. The decisions open to Judicial Review can be extremely wide-ranging, from decisions over the treatment of patients, decisions not to investigate a complaint/adverse incident (or carrying out an investigation wrongly), to decisions to detain or discharge mental health patients.  

The Ministry of Justice is to start a public consultation on proposed changes to the procedure by Christmas. It is expected to include measures which:

  • Shorten the time within which to apply for Judicial Review following the initial decision;
  • Halve the number of opportunities to challenge the refusal of permission for Judicial Review; and
  • Increase the fees to bring Judicial Review proceedings.

We will report on the public consultation when it is announced at the end of the year. More details can be found here: http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/features/unclogging-the-courts