26 October 2020

On Friday, we submitted evidence to the Independent Review of Administrative Law's call for evidence.

The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) is a panel set up by the Government to review the judicial review process. Judicial review is a type of legal case where a judge (or judges) reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public authority. Public authorities include, local councils, government departments and Ministers, police forces, regulators (such as the CQC) and health authorities. The judge does not decide if the original decision by the public authority was right or wrong; instead they look at the process of the decision making. You can read more about the panel and what judicial review is in our plain language Explainer: What is the Judicial Review Panel?

Our evidence submission

We at the British Institute of Human Rights are a charity working in communities across the UK to enable positive change through human rights. Our evidence submission to the IRAL is grounded in both our legal knowledge and experience, and our work directly with people on the law and legal processes as they impact people in everyday life.

Our submission shows that judicial review is a crucial mechanism for protecting and respecting the human rights of people in the UK. Judicial review protects not only the people that are directly affected by a decision that is made by public bodies but all of us, by helping to ensure there is a human rights culture in the UK. 

Our evidence, gathered from both decision makers (staff working in health, care and social work) and people who access services (and the family members, advocates and community groups that support them) shows that across the board there is strong support for judicial review in its current form.

Our key findings

We asked people, advocates and staff, "Do you have experience of judicial review influencing decision making and/or protecting human rights?".

They responded:

       

We asked people, advocates and staff, "Would you be worried if the judicial review process was diluted or changed?"

They responded:
       
It is clear from the responses to our survey that both decision makers (staff working in health, care and social work) and people who access services (and the family members, advocates and community groups that support them) agree in the importance of the judicial review process as a mechanism for protecting human rights, and furthering the creation of a culture of human rights in the UK.

In our submission, we urged the IRAL to be mindful of the wider importance of judicial review in our constitutional arrangements, and particularly for people in their everyday lives. An over focus on changing the technicalprocedures around Judicial Review, absent of this context, risksundermining this important accountability mechanism, which helps ensure people’s rights are upheld in every day decision making across the country.