Moves to cut the number of court cases that are strung out by people applying for judicial reviews of decisions will be announced today by the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling.
The vast majority are attempts by illegal immigrants and refused asylum-seekers to hold up or overturn their deportations on a point of law. There are also large numbers of contentious planning battles that eventually go to judicial review.
Mr Grayling said last night: “Judicial review should be used by people who have carefully considered whether they have proper grounds to challenge a decision. We are changing the system so it cannot be used any more as a cheap delaying tactic.”
In an attempt to deter frivolous applications, anyone who wants to challenge the refusal of an application for judicial review will have to pay £215 to appear in person. If their case has initially been deemed to be without merit, they will lose the right to appear in person, which delays the process.
The time limit for applying for a judicial review of a planning decision will be halved to six weeks.
The number of applications rose from 6,692 in 2007 to 11,359 in 2011. One in six was granted permission to proceed and the number which proved successful dropped from 187 to 144.
Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Secretary, said: “Making challenges more difficult will result in an increased number of unlawful decisions going unchecked.”
He added: “Ministers need to guarantee these proposals will not insulate Government decisions from legal challenge or remove this crucial check and balance on their power.”