On 23 April the Ministry of Justice announced reforms of the judicial review process following a consultation at the end of last year.  The changes are intended to both dissuade unjustified applications and speed up the court system.

Most applications for judicial review are made in writing. However, if an application is rejected an oral hearing may be requested. The court fee payable for the oral hearing has been increased from £60.00 to £215.00 and if an application for judicial review is ruled totally without merit, an application for an oral hearing won’t be permitted.

Perhaps most significantly, the time period within which proceedings may be commenced in relation to any decision to grant planning permission or matters flowing from the grant of planning (currently promptly and in any event within three months from the date of the relevant decision) is to be reduced to six weeks.

The risks of judicial review being commenced in relation to the grant of planning permission will continue to be of concern to land owners and developers. However, any party seeking to challenge a decision of a planning authority will now have to move quicker than was previously the case and that in itself may result in a reduction in the number of judicial review applications brought.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this blog please contact Mark Withers at mark.withers@parissmith.co.uk.