Government concedes key points on judicial review

As you know, we’ve been following the parliamentary ping pong on the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. Today it comes back before the Commons and, as the Guardian reports, the Government has made concessions on three points:

The first concession, not related to judicial review, was over the introduction of disciplinary powers to be used for confining convicted boys under the age of 15 and women in secure colleges. The Ministry of Justice amendment has accepted that there would have to be a further vote on a statutory instrument before the powers could come into force – a safeguard that peers had sought. Labour said the concession was sufficient.

The government’s two other highly technical, judicial review amendments allow judges to make the final decision on whether to grant permission for a judicial review challenge, and allow judicial committees to decide at what financial level individuals who fund cases will have to be identified.

While those concessions will satisfy some of those who want to see more judicial  discretion in determining whether a judicial review can go ahead, others will feel that the use of the word exceptional is too much of a qualifier.

Liberal Democrats have been working behind the scenes to secure these changes since the last Lords debate a month ago. What Chris Grayling offers is the result of those negotiations. The Lords will have to determine whether they are sufficient. If they do, the ping pong will continue.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • TechnicalEphemera 13th Jan '15 - 7:28pm

    Doesn’t change the fact that it is still an awful bill, Grieve and Davis (Tories by the way) both spoke against it.

    Doesn’t change the fact that the Lib Dems had the opportunity to vote it down and instead voted for it.

    Not acceptable by any measure of decency, certainly not compatible with Liberal Democrat principles as I once understood them.

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