No 10 “plans to let ministers deregister legal decisions they disagree with” | Politics


Boris Johnson plans to let ministers overturn court rulings they disagree with, according to a report that raises concerns the government is determined to weaken judicial review after a string of court defeats.

An ally of the Prime Minister told the Times that the bill on judicial review and the courts under consideration in Parliament “does not go far enough” for the Prime Minister, who is considering an option, developed by the Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab, and the Attorney General, Suella Braverman, who would strike the findings of judicial reviews with which the government does not agree.

Judicial review is a judicial process in which a judge reviews the legality of an action or decision of a public body. He looks at how a decision was made, rather than the pros and cons of that decision, but some Conservatives have accused the judges of going too far.

The government’s complaints trace back to two Brexit-related government defeats in the Supreme Court over whether ministers or parliament had the right to trigger Brexit and prorogation of parliament. The Conservatives’ election manifesto subsequently pledged to end the “abuse” of judicial review.

However, the judicial review bill, while placing further restrictions on the use of the process, including in immigration cases, did not go as far as some feared. Many saw this as a result of resistance from then-justice secretary Robert Buckland to further restrictions on the judiciary. Buckland was sacked and replaced by Raab in the September cabinet reshuffle.

The Times reports Johnson is not happy with the bill, but since the proposed changes are too late to be included, they will be included in legislation next year, citing sources close to Raab.

Critics have warned that such a move would prevent the government from being legitimately held responsible when it acted illegally.

Joanna Cherry QC, Senior Lawyer and SNP MP, tweeted: “So now we know why Robert Buckland pushed Dominic Raab. clearly [Buckland’s] the approach to judicial review and human rights “reform” was too vain. These proposals are an affront to democracy and the rule of law.

Adam Wagner, a prominent human rights lawyer, tweeted: “Just because a judgment has political ramifications does not mean judges engage in politics. Inevitably, if the government is wrong and acts outside the law, a successful judgment will inevitably have a political impact. This does not justify playing with the separation of powers.

The government has also faced a number of challenges in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In February, a High Court judge ruled that then Health Secretary Matt Hancock acted illegally by failing to publish multibillion-pound government Covid-19 contracts within the required 30 days. by the law.

Last month, in a speech at the Public Law Project conference, Braverman said there had been a “huge increase in political litigation” and said judges should not be asked to “answer questions. inherently political issues “.

Right now, the only option if the government is not happy with a court ruling is to legislate accordingly, but the suggestion is that it is determined to empower itself.

Speaking on Times Radio on Sunday, Raab also outlined plans to reform human rights law to “correct” the balance between free speech and privacy.

Following the failure of the Mail on Sunday’s appeal regarding the publication of a letter written by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to her ex-father, Raab said he wanted to rectify “the drift towards Continental style privacy laws, innovated in the courtroom, not by elected legislators in the House of Commons ”.

The Justice Department and No.10 were both approached for comment.


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