The future of judicial review

The MDU recently responded to proposals from the Ministry of Justice to reform the judicial review process.

Following the Independent Review on Administrative Law, the UK government has been consulting on plans to reform how the judicial review process operates.

In our response to the consultation, we asserted that the central purpose of judicial review is that a past error should be revisited. The government is proposing that courts should be allowed to order prospective-only remedies when they find in favour of the individual making the claim. We are concerned that this could mean that the organisation responsible for the error would not be required to make-right the mistake in that individual person's case, but instead, just ensure no further mistakes of that kind are made in the future.

Judicial review has a wide remit, and rightly so. Given the number of highly publicised Judicial Review cases that have taken place in recent years, it may perhaps be forgotten than many of these cases can be referring to a lone individual, seeking justice in their own case. For instance, it could be a doctor or dentist seeking the court to intervene on a failure of their regulator. The outcome of that judicial review may be of fundamental importance to that healthcare professional's continued professional practise.

We are therefore deeply concerned by any move in the direction of prospective-only remedies in these cases.

If the court finds that something was not done properly, to the detriment of the claimant, a successful judicial review should require the defendant to go back and repair the damage caused by their maladministration - and if necessary, begin afresh.

You can read our response here.

This page was correct at publication on 29/06/2021. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

Thomas Reynolds

by Thomas Reynolds Head of government & external relations

Thomas (Tom) has worked in the medico-legal sector since 2014, prior to which he was employed in the House of Commons as a parliamentary researcher and adviser to a number of MPs. He is a graduate of the University of Exeter, where he studied Politics, Law and International Relations. Tom has a long academic interest in medical ethics, beginning with his undergraduate dissertation which examined the law on abortion in England and Wales. In addition to his role at the MDU, he is also a magistrate for the Central London district.