A change in government policy can sometimes have a profoundly adverse effect on businesses, particularly if that change is unexpected or sudden. Businesses, particularly those in highly regulated sectors, often rely on “clear assurances” from Government in relation to its policy objectives and areas of focus (and funding) as a basis for operating or investing
The High Court, in the recent case of R (Biffa Waste Management Services Ltd) v the Commissioners for HMRC  EWHC 1444 (Admin), has provided much needed clarification on taxpayers’ entitlement to rely upon rulings by HMRC where the ruling is general in nature but framed to apply only to specific transactions. Facts The claimant,
In a recent decision, the Court of Appeal has ruled that Ministers should not permit themselves to be lobbied by local MPs when making planning decisions, even where such lobbying occurred informally in a tea room. The Court disagreed with the first instance finding that lobbying of Ministers was “part and parcel of the representative
The Court of Appeal found in R. (on the application of Mott) v Environment Agency  EWCA Civ 564 that a decision significantly to reduce the number of salmon the Claimant was permitted to catch was not irrational. However, it did breach his property rights under Article 1 of Protocol 1 (“A1P1”) to the European
In October 2015, the UK Prime Minister published an updated version of the Ministerial Code, his guidance to government ministers on how they should conduct themselves in public office. Prior to the revision, paragraph 1.2 read: The Ministerial Code should be read alongside the Coalition agreement and the background of the overarching duty on Ministers
The Court of Appeal has seized the opportunity, in Wasif and another v Secretary of State for the Home Department, to provide guidance on the circumstances in which a case may appropriately be certified as being “totally without merit”. Background To commence a judicial review, an applicant must first apply for permission from the Court,
In the recent judgment of Youssef v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs  UKSC 3, the Supreme Court highlighted the need for a review of the law on the use of the proportionality test, which may extend beyond the realms of EU law and the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR“). The
On 17 July 2015, the High Court declared the operative provision of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (“DRIPA“) to be inconsistent with EU law, in response to a judicial review claim brought by Conservative MP David Davis and Labour MP Tom Watson (R (Davis & Watson) v Secretary of State for the
The Lord Chancellor suffered another setback in his efforts to restrict legal aid when the High Court ruled this week that regulations introducing a “no permission, no fee” arrangement for legally aided applications for judicial review are unlawful. The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (No 3) Regulations 2014 (the “Regulations“) amended existing provisions such that
On 12 February 2015, reforms to judicial review – embodied in the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (the “Act“) – received royal assent. We have previously written on the rationale for, and controversies surrounding, those reforms (see, for example, here). Following a protracted “ping-pong” process between the Lords and the Commons, the Queen in
The Administrative Court, in a judgment handed down last Friday, has set back Government plans to cut criminal legal aid. In this recent challenge by the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA) and the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA), the Court found that the Lord Chancellor had acted so unfairly “as to amount to illegality“.
The Administrative Court’s decision in R (O) v Secretary of State for International Development  EWHC 2371 (Admin) – handed down in the midst of fierce debate over the Government’s proposed reforms of judicial review via the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – provides a useful restatement of the principles applicable to the question of
In a judgment handed down this morning, the Supreme Court adopted a pragmatic and flexible approach to the scope of HMRC’s powers of interference with property on certain grounds. Reversing the Court of Appeal’s ruling, the Supreme Court found that, while the express statutory power to detain goods on which HMRC originally relied did not
As part of the sweeping reforms to judicial review that came into effect on 1 July 2013, the courts now have the power under CPR 54.12(7) to label a claim as “totally without merit” at the permission stage, thus preventing that case from being renewed at an oral permission hearing. The rationale for this change
In R (Essex CC) v Secretary of State for Education, the Administrative Court provided a good illustration of the limited nature of remedies available in judicial review proceedings. Having previously quashed a decision for failure to comply with statutory duties under equality legislation, the Court was faced with a challenge to a renewed decision that
The Joint Committee of the House of Lords and House of Commons on Human Rights today published its report entitled, “The implications for access to justice of the Government’s proposals to reform judicial review” (the “Report“).
The Ministry of Justice has released its response to the consultation on the latest proposals for judicial review reform. Although it has backed down on a number of controversial proposals, it will now bring forward legislation making significant changes to the approach to permission and costs. Proposed changes to the standing test and to the
In an effort to limit the number of applications for costs in respect of settled judicial review claims that are “poorly considered and prepared by the parties“, and that “consum[e] judicial time far beyond what is proportionate“, the Administrative Court has issued guidance on how it will deal with such applications after 20 November 2013.
Reports in yesterday’s editions of The Times and The Telegraph suggested that the Government is considering making changes to the test for standing in judicial review cases. At present, s. 31 of the Senior Courts Act 1982 provides that the Court shall not grant permission for a judicial review unless the applicant has “sufficient interest
Despite the on-going political controversy over the utility and expense of the planned HS2 rail route linking London to Birmingham and beyond, the legal challenge to the government’s plans has hit the buffers with a Court of Appeal decision that sides with the government on all counts. HS2, currently budgeted at £42.6 billion, is intended
The High Court has expressed concern over the “constitutional aberration” that allows the government to block disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, but upheld the application of this veto to the so-called “Black Spider” letters sent by Prince Charles to various government departments. The case is interesting both for its position within the wider
R (Nash) v Barnet London Borough Council  EWHC 1067 (Admin) A recent decision of the High Court has highlighted the uncertainty around when time starts to run for bringing judicial review proceedings where there may be series of decisions and an arguable “continuing breach”. In this case, the High Court has dismissed a challenge
Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, has today announced a package of judicial review reforms targeting “weak, frivolous and unmeritorious cases, which congest the courts and cause delays.” Most of the proposals that were set out in the consultation on the reform of Judicial Review (the “Consultation“) are to be implemented, despite the majority
Back in August 2012, the Department of Transport (the “DfT“) announced that, following a tender process, it was awarding the franchise contract for the InterCity West Coast mainline to First Group. The existing holder of the franchise, Virgin Rail Group, immediately announced its intention to launch a judicial review of the DfT’s decision and, in