A group of leading claimant law firms has written to the Lord Chancellor to voice concern that the panel members of Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) “are not fully representative of those concerned about the future of judicial review”.
In the letter to Robert Buckland the firms – Leigh Day, Bindmans, Irwin Mitchell, Bhatt Murphy and Deighton Pierce Glynn (DPG) – called on the government to consider expanding the panel to include practising lawyers with expertise in claimant law public law litigation and legal aid funded judicial review work “so that the call for evidence will be better scrutinised”.
The IRAL is chaired by Lord Faulks QC, a former government minister. Set up in July, the panel also comprises academics Professor Carol Harlow, Professor Alan Page and Nick McBride and barristers Vikram Sachdeva QC and Celina Colquhoun.
Last week the IRAL issued a call for evidence “on how well or effectively judicial review balances the legitimate interest in citizens being able to challenge the lawfulness of executive action with the role of the executive in carrying on the business of government, both locally and centrally”.
The firms said issues remained and that any options put forward “must be subject to a full and proper consultation at a formative stage”.
In a joint statement they said: “For such a review to be credible, its terms need to be widened significantly, and the membership of the panel needs to more fully reflect the legal body that carries out judicial review work. If it is not, then any premise underlying this review, that judicial review is routinely abused by claimants, may go uncorrected.”
The IRAL is expected to report later this year.