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Blog: Judicial review and Chris Grayling’s comments in today’s Daily Mail (6 September)

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Judicial review and Chris Grayling’s comments in today’s Daily Mail (6 September)
Deborah Evans | 06 Sep 2013

Since when were charities and campaign groups the bad guys? They stand up for the most vulnerable when Government policy rides roughshod over them. They stand up for those most affected by the changes. Life isn’t fair – Government policy often has a very unequal impact on people – and those most affected stand to lose the opportunity to call the Government to account.

It is very very hard to win a judicial review. Fewer than one in ten succeed. That does not mean, however, that nine out of ten are spurious. Losing a case should not mean that it should never have been brought. Life is rarely that black and white – there are often difficult legal questions to explore on which there are currently no answers, so requiring the input of a judge.

The bringing of a judicial review often achieves results even where the case ultimately fails, as many concessions are achieved through negotiation along the way. Such concessions would not be on the table without the threat of legal challenge. The Government will concede on areas where it will lose in court, but chooses to challenge those areas where there is no clear answer – rightly so.

Media coverage is not the aim. Indeed, campaign groups often go quiet in the media so as not to disadvantage their case. Media coverage is probably an indication that someone has a point – that it is not spurious, and that the answer is unclear.

Few individuals would take on the Government without the assistance of a campaign group of a charity. For a start, costs can be exorbitantly high – cases are heard in the High Court and require top level barristers.

It is a sad indictment that objecting to a Government policy change paints a campaign group or charity as ‘left-wing’. Charities and campaign groups aim to be politically active from a policy point of view, while many remain a-political.

The best way to reduce the number of judicial review cases is to make better policy. Policy is less open to legal challenge if it is based on proper evidence, researched and thought through, rather than being made on gut instinct. The system is, as Mr Grayling recognises, ‘an important way to right wrongs’. Let’s keep it that way.

Past blog entries

Consumers will not benefit from Do-it-Yourself whiplash reforms, 28 Jan 2021
Effects of a change in the discount rate: what happens when a review is expected? , 16 Dec 2020
Three per cent drop in premiums does not reflect massive insurer savings, 09 Nov 2020
What help is out there for families when someone is injured?, 02 Nov 2020
Blindly heading into the unknown for injured people?, 09 Dec 2019
Lessons in looking after one another , 18 Nov 2019
‘Fake claims’ or ‘fake news’?, 06 Nov 2019
The tide of public opinion is turning against insurers, 15 Oct 2019

About this blog

Deborah Evans

I'm Deborah Evans, APIL's Chief Executive Officer. I shall be using this blog to keep you informed about campaigning and political work carried out by APIL.