IT was a key tool used in the battle over
Southampton’s port, the threat to the children’s
heart unit and the thorny issue of
putting fluoride into the city’s water, but yesterday ministers announced
plans to curb the right to a judicial review,
claiming it was a burden on public services
and holding back economic growth.
Judicial review is a way of challenging
official decisions in the courts.
Prime Minister David Cameron said
opponents of planning decisions and policies
would be given less time to apply for
judicial review, face higher fees and see the
chances to appeal halved.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said
they often led to unnecessary costs and
lengthy delays and pledged to weed out
frivolous and unmeritorious cases.
Numbers of judicial reviews lodged have
risen from 160 in 1975 to about 11,000 last
year. Just such an application by Hutchison
threatened the £150m expansion of
Southampton’s port. The project had to be
halted while objections on environmental
grounds were dealt with.
Southampton Itchen MP John Denham
said: “I think judicial reviews can be justified
when the public feel they have been
badly treated but it cannot be used to drag
things out. The situation we got into with
the port was ludicrous and if we can do
something about it, I would support it.”