UKAJI Call for Blogs on The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL)
In July 2020, the Government launched a Panel to examine potential reforms to the system of judicial review. This followed a commitment in the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the December 2019 general election to establish a Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Rights. The original Panel has now been transmogrified into the ‘Independent Review of Administrative Law’ (IRAL), which released its call for evidence in early September 2020.
The Review identifies its terms of reference as follows:
- Whether the amenability of public decisions to judicial review by the courts and the grounds of public law illegality should be codified in statute;
2. Whether the legal principle of non-justiciability requires clarification and, if so, the identity of subjects/areas where the issue of justiciability/non-justiciability of the exercise of public power and/or functions could be considered by the Government;
3. Whether, where the exercise of a public power should be justiciable: (a) on which grounds the courts should be able to find a decision to be unlawful; (b) whether those grounds should depend on the nature and subject matter of the power; and (c) the remedies available in respect of the various grounds on which a decision may be declared unlawful;
4. Whether procedural reforms to judicial review are necessary, in general to ‘streamline the process’, and, in particular: (a) on the burden of disclosure in particular in relation to policy decisions in Government: (b) in relation to the duty of candour, particularly as it affects Government; (c) on possible amendments to the law of standing; (d) on time limits for bringing claims; (e) on the principles on which relief is granted; (f) on rights of appeal, including on permission to bringing proceedings; and (g) on costs and interveners.
Within these terms of reference lie major constitutional issues relating to judicial redress and legal remedies for the individual, the accountability of the executive, parliamentary sovereignty, the rule of law, judicial independence, access to justice, and the separation of powers.
Today, UKAJI is launching a call for blogs which address the Independent Review of Administrative Law. Given that there are many other forums to address the direct constitutional issues that arise, UKAJI would be particularly interested in blogs and commentaries which address how this Review relates to – or fails to relate to – administrative justice issues, such as initial decision-making by public bodies, the work of tribunals and ombuds, administrative redress mechanisms and remedies within public bodies, alternative and online dispute resolution, the operation of public services and public administration, and legal advice provision given to claimants and public bodies.
UKAJI’s definition of ‘administrative justice’ can be found here and our blog guidelines can be found here. For any further information or to submit pieces, please contact Lee Marsons on email@example.com.
It should be obvious to anyone who knows the stats for NHS Complaints which progress to PHSO that all can’t be well!
In 2018-19 there were 29,841 complaints to PHSO of which 117 were fully up held. (source: What’s the Point of the Ombudsman by Della Reynolds) People are dismissed by PHSO saying, ‘they are unhappy as they didn’t get the outcome they wanted’! Nothing could be further from the truth.
The difficulty and expensive for ordinary people to bring Judicial review against the Ombudsman is overwhelming. Of those who do make the financial sacrifice, I think only one JR has been won and that took 20 years apparently. The system is stacked against people who, without deep pockets will not win, they may not win even with deep pockets.
This is one of the reasons people take negligence cases, because there is no justice from PHSO, as demonstrated by their own stats. The possibility of winning a negligence case, finances permitting, are increased from those of trying to get a JR.
People are not ambulance chasing as Main Stream Media would have us believe, they simple want to know; what happened?
Here is a response in Parliament to a question in the House, It’s from Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice
The Ministry of Justice continues to work jointly with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Treasury, Cabinet Office, NHS Resolution and others, to respond to the challenge from NAO. We are looking at all the drivers of costs and a wide range of options are being considered as part of the strategy to reduce clinical negligence costs.
Of course they know what’s wrong, it’s impossible to hold anyone to account.
One driver is that when British people perceive they are not getting the truth and justice we are brought up to expect, we do look for other ways to hold wrong doing to account.
BUT JR is out of the reach of most people because of it’s obscure, antiquated procedures and bias towards authority. PHSO can go on handing out injustice and there nothing people can do about it. Unless they can take negligence cases, but that should not be necessary!
Where PHSO have not followed their own laid down procedures, JR should hold them to account, but it does not.
Reform is needed to make the law more accountable and available to citizens.
That will not happen, it is not in the interests of authorities, including the justice system itself, for them to be held to account.
The book ‘What’s the point of the Ombudsman?’ was also sent to members of UKAJI. There is a chapter on using court processes to hold those in authority to account. This includes Judicial Review. Reporting on a real case story we recorded that an unsuccessful judicial review can cost the individual citizen upwards of £80,000 and PHSO, the Ombudsman, always seeks costs. Perhaps UKAJI can ask those who are carrying out this independent review into Administrative Law how the individual citizen can possibly use legal procedures to hold public bodies to account without risking bankruptcy.
As a member of PHSOTheFacts, I can second David Czarnetzki’s fear that accountability will be even more compromised than it is already. It would seem the citizen doesn’t figure in democracy at all. I know believe democracy is only a word the establishment use as a con trick.
For several years now, a group called PHSOTheFacts has documented their difficulties with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman service. These culminated in the publication, in June 2020, of a book entitled “What’s the point of the Ombudsman” The book details experiences and demonstrates much of what is wrong with the Ombudsman service from a public point of view. Copies of the book were sent to Richard Kirkham and Chris Gill who recently posted on UKAJI. The book is available through Amazon if you can’t borrow one of their copies. Visit the website PHSOthetruestory. That will also be a valuable source for you.
My fear is the proposed legislation will make it more difficult for the public to hold ‘arms length bodies’ to account – not easier. It has become clear to me that, having delegated issues to these bodies, the politicians have no real interest in what goes on!