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Press release: 6 December 2021
Expert lawyers at ClientEarth have responded with alarm to fresh news on the UK Government’s plans for judicial review.
This cornerstone of legal protection for people in the UK ensures there is space to challenge potentially unlawful decisions by public bodies – but has been under review by the government.
According to this latest development, a proposed ‘Interpretations Bill’, if enacted, would allow the Westminster government to review a list of successful judicial reviews each year and pick and choose any they wished to strike down.
ClientEarth lawyer Gillian Lobo said: “We are extraordinarily concerned at this latest attempt by the UK Government to override the rule of law. The point of the justice system is that it applies to everyone, all the time – institutionalised dodging is nothing short of an attack on our constitution.
“The government has previously tried to justify this attempted overhaul of judicial review by implying that court cases are being taken politically. On the contrary – there is nothing more political than the government reviewing a list of court decisions and deciding which ones are inconvenient for the ruling party.
“It is impossible to overstate the importance of judicial review for people in the UK, and for our constitutional balance.
“Judicial review is also one of the last defence lines for the environment. Nature is not able to speak for itself and relies on others to defend it from unlawful decisions. Any barrier to the courts that stops members of the public challenging legally unsound environmental decisions is a condemnation for nature and our climate.”
Read our explainer of judicial review and its importance for people and the environment.
ClientEarth is a non-profit organisation that uses the law to create systemic change that protects the Earth for – and with – its inhabitants. We are tackling climate change, protecting nature and stopping pollution, with partners and citizens around the globe. We hold industry and governments to account, and defend everyone’s right to a healthy world. From our offices in Europe, Asia and the USA we shape, implement and enforce the law, to build a future for our planet in which people and nature can thrive together.