Submission to the Independent Review of Administrative Law

The Society of Labour Lawyers has made a formal submission to the Independent Review of Administrative Law.

You can download the submission here.

Foreword by Kate O’Rourke, Chair of the Society of Labour Lawyers The Society of Labour Lawyers, founded by Gerald Gardiner QC nearly 75 years ago, is the principal professional body for supporters of the Labour Party in the legal profession. This paper has been prepared by a group of contributors chaired by the distinguished public lawyer James Goudie QC. The contributors are practising lawyers with very extensive experience of public law and judicial review, appearing for both claimants and defendants. The submission is intended to present an objective and non-partisan commentary on the issues raised by the consultation.

The Society believes that judicial review plays a fundamental role in the UK’s constitutional democracy. Not only it is an essential concomitant of good decision and policy making, but it is the embodiment of the constitutional principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers. Any attempt significantly to diminish the scope of judicial review should be strongly resisted.

Now is a time when both the power and the presence of the British state are expanding at pace to meet the urgent demands of the Covid-19 pandemic, in combination with preparations for a potential No-Deal Brexit. It is critical that our public administration remains subject to robust scrutiny and accountability throughout this volatile period, and beyond. Efforts to curtail judicial review at this moment would limit democratic accountability at a time when public trust in government and its policies is critical to the nation’s welfare.

The Society of Labour Lawyers’ submission provides a detailed assessment of the suggested need to reform the substantive and procedural law of judicial review in the UK, and also discusses where appropriate the possibility of implementing changes to the law that would enhance its value. We hope that the panel benefits from our representations.

Kate O’Rourke Chair of the Society of Labour Lawyers