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Number of judicial review challenges lodged against councils continued downward trend in 2020: Ministry of Justice

The number of judicial review applications received by local authorities in 2020 was down slightly (2.8%) on the previous 12 months, Ministry of Justice data has revealed.

Local authorities had 570 applications lodged against them last year, down from 586. The 2019 total was itself down 10% on the previous year.

Of the 570 applications made in 2020, 150 have been granted permission to proceed to final hearing (26% of applications) to date. This is significantly fewer than in 2019 (210 out of 586, or 36%).

The MoJ’s Civil justice statistics quarterly: October to December 2020 meanwhile also showed that overall the number of JR applications received fell in 2020 by 16% to 2,800.

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This was largely down to a major reduction in civil immigration and asylum applications.

Of the 2,800 applications received in 2020, 1,100 were civil immigration and asylum applications, 1,500 were civil (other), and 150 were criminal, down 29%, down 3% and down 9% respectively on the same period of 2019, according to the MoJ.

More than half (55%) of the 2,800 applications are now closed. Of the total applications, 1,500 reached the permission stage in 2020, and of these:

  • 17% (260) were found to be totally without merit (TWM).
  • 390 cases were granted permission to proceed and 1,100 were refused at the permission stage. However, 53 of cases refused at permission stage went on to be granted permission at the renewal stage.
  • 450 of the 2020 cases have been assessed to be eligible for a final hearing and of these, 69 have since been heard.
  • For the 2020 cases, the mean time from a case being lodged to the permission decision was 86 days, slightly up from 66 days across the same period of 2019.
  • The mean time from a case being lodged to final hearing decision was 175 days, similar to the same period of 2019 (162 days).

With the high number of immigration and asylum claims, the Home Office was unsurprisingly the department/body to have the most JR claims lodged against them, with 840 applications.

The second largest recipient of JR cases was the Ministry of Justice, with 750 cases received, of which to date 87 were granted permission to proceed to final hearing (12% of applications).

Local authorities were the third largest recipient.

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