Last year the Government consulted on proposed reforms of Judicial Review (JR). The proposals were drive by concern about the use of JR to delay and frustrate plans for growth.
The Government published its response to the Consultation in April. Whilst this acknowledges that the majority of responses were opposed to the reforms, the Government has decided to press ahead with most of them in any event.
The most significant reform in terms of planning is the decision to apply a six week time limit for bringing a JR to all proceedings relating to a decision whether or not to grant planning permission under the various planning acts. The current rules require proceedings to be issued promptly and in any event within three months of the grounds giving rise to the claim.
In addition, the Government will introduce a fee for an oral renewal (a hearing to reconsider an application to bring a JR where permission has been refused on the papers). More significantly, the Government will also remove the right to an oral renewal where permission to proceed with the JR has been refused on the papers on the basis that claim is totally without merit.
The changes require the Civil Procedure Rules Committee to amend the Civil Procedure Rules and the Master of the Rolls to amend the Pre-Action Protocol on Judicial Review. Some secondary legislation is also required to deal with the new fee. The changes should be introduced later this year.