‘Huge increase in political litigation’: Braverman defends JR reforms

The legal professional basic has defended the federal government’s determination to reform judicial evaluation, telling public legislation specialists that circumstances such because the Article 50 and prorogation challenges have launched ‘uncertainty’ into the constitutional stability between parliament, authorities and the courts.

In a keynote handle to Public Legislation Undertaking’s annual convention as we speak, Suella Braverman QC MP mentioned it was ‘crucially important that we neither permit, facilitate or encourage judicial review to be used as a political tool by those who have already lost the arguments’.

Braverman mentioned the UK had seen a ‘huge increase’ in political litigation. ‘The government has to spend time and money responding to such challenges. The full economic cost of doing so is never recoverable. The government is successful in more than 65% of judicial reviews against it, but it is vital that judicial review does not become a vehicle of choice for failed political campaigners.’

Braverman spoke about ‘significant decisions on highly charged issues’, resembling R (Miller) v Prime Minister, relating to the prorogation of parliament. Braverman mentioned the Supreme Court docket’s determination ‘recast the previously clear divisions between the justiciable and non-justiciable, between convention and law’.

Nevertheless, she welcomed the Supreme Court docket’s determination in R (on the applying of SC, CB and eight Kids) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and ors, regarding the two-child profit restrict. Braverman ‘wholeheartedly agreed’ with a sturdy assertion made by Lord Reed in opposition to public legislation actions.

Braverman instructed the convention there could be completely professional situations the place the federal government thinks it worthwhile and essential to ask parliament to legislate to overturn particular person court docket selections. She gave the instance of the choice to reverse the impact of the Supreme Court docket’s judgment in Cart, which might forestall Higher Tribunal appeals being topic to judicial evaluation.

Defending the Judicial Evaluate and Courts Invoice, which seeks to ‘restore the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the courts’, Braverman mentioned that even when the pendulum returned to a extra balanced place, ‘the mould has been broken’. A future Supreme Court docket might enter territory ‘that should be the sole preserve of those generally answerable to the people’. The invoice is predicted to have its second studying in the Commons in the subsequent few weeks.

Braverman mentioned: ‘My view is that the last decade has demonstrated an increased appetite for political litigation and more worryingly an appetite for putting judges in an invidious position by asking them to decide political matters for judicial review. It is important we recast the mould. The ramifications of not doing so are profound. The authority of the judiciary must never be pinned against the authority of the people… If we keep asking judges to answer inherently political questions, we are ignoring the single most important decision maker in our system – the British people.’

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