The Law Society has welcomed the Government’s decision to drop provisions in the Judicial Review and Courts Bill for a statutory presumption requiring judges to award newly created suspended or prospective-only quashing orders over other established remedies available in judicial review.
Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said: “If the state is found by an independent court to have done something wrong it’s important the judge has discretion to make good in a way that fits the specifics of the case.
“The draft legislation would have stacked the odds against people taking public bodies to court from the start.
“However, the Government has accepted a Lords amendment which throws out restrictions on the remedies judges can award – referred to as a ‘presumption’ in favour of certain remedies over others – which would have advantaged the state at the expense of anyone challenging it.”
Boyce added: “With the Government’s concession, people who are the victim of an unlawful state action will continue to be able to seek justice on a level playing field.
“I am pleased that the Government has listened to experts in this area of law and heeded our call to remove the presumption from the Bill. This would have severely curtailed judges’ discretion.
“Suspended quashing orders – which allow the court to give public bodies time to put things right before an unlawful act is formally quashed – are welcome. It’s good news they will be available to judges and that judges will be able to choose when to use them.”