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On Wednesday 21 July 2021 the Government presented the Judicial Review and Courts Bill 2021-22 to the House of Commons. This Bill includes a range of measures, most of which were headlined in the Queen’s Speech earlier in the year, and some of which are provisions reintroduced from bills that fell in previous parliaments. The Bill’s Second Reading debate is scheduled for Monday 18 October.

The Bill subdivides into two substantive parts.

Part 1 makes reforms to the law of judicial review throughout the United Kingdom, but with a primary focus on England and Wales. In 2020, the Government commissioned the Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL), which was chaired by Lord Faulks and reported earlier this year.

The reforms in the Bill implement IRAL’s recommendations to abolish so-called Cart judicial reviews (through a legal provision known as an “ouster clause”) and to provide an explicit statutory basis for courts to make suspended quashing orders (delaying the legal effects of their judgments). The Bill goes further and makes provision about prospective-only judicial remedies (which partially or wholly treat historic illegal acts as though they were valid), for which IRAL made no recommendation.

Part 2 of the Bill covers a wide range of court and tribunal reforms, most of which have either been revived from bills that fell in previous parliaments, or which were otherwise flagged in the 2021 Queen’s Speech.

  • Chapter 1 introduces reforms to criminal procedure, including making provision about automatic online convictions for certain offences and new written procedures;
  • Chapter 2 reintroduces proposals from the Court and Tribunals (Online Procedure) Bill 2017-19 to establish a new Online Procedure Rule Committee to regulate electronic court and tribunal proceedings;
  • Chapter 3 reforms the governing structure of the employment tribunals system, integrating it more closely with the unified two-tier tribunals and relieving the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of responsibility for overseeing relevant statutory arrangements;
  • Chapter 4 introduces a range of reforms to the coroner system;
  • Chapter 5 makes miscellaneous changes to the justice system, including abolishing local justice areas (a proposal originally trailed in the Prison and Courts Bill 2016-17) and some updates to legislation enabling certain courts to be closed when replacement facilities are ready for use.

Documents to download

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