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JR reforms become law as parliament winds down

By Michael Cross >>

(28 April 2022)

The government’s judicial review reforms entered the statute book today – the last day of the parliamentary session – with ministers claiming to have delivered on a manifesto commitment ‘to ensure courts are not open to abuse and delay’.

The Judicial Review and Courts Act is one of four measures to receive Royal Assent today. A government statement said the legislation ‘provides much needed flexibility on the outcome of judicial reviews. Crucially, it also ends inefficient so-called ‘Cart’ JRs to minimise delays in immigration, asylum and other cases that have already been refused permission to appeal by judges.’

Meanwhile the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act ‘equips the police with the powers and tools they need to combat crime and create safer communities, while overhauling sentencing laws to keep serious sexual and violent offenders behind bars for longer.’

Lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice Dominic Raab said: ‘This government has been clear in its commitment to cut crime and protect the public – and today we are delivering on that promise. These new laws give the police and courts the tools they need to keep people safe – particularly women and children – and will restore confidence in the criminal justice system by making sure punishments fit the severity of the crime.’ 

Two government-backed private members’ bills were also added onto the statute book today. Under the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act the legal age of marriage will be raised to 18 in England and Wales. The Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Act strengthens the Probation Service’s ability to tackle drug abuse among offenders through new compulsory testing to reduce reoffending.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: ‘Today is a landmark moment for the people of our country. The measures we promised to introduce to cut crime and make are streets safer are now law.

‘Today’s announcement comes as the government is investing £477m to deliver speedier justice for victims and reduce the backlog of cases which rose significantly during the pandemic. This includes lifting the cap on Crown court sitting days for another year to ensure courts can continue working at full capacity to minimise delays.’

Parliament will next sit for the state opening on 10 May.

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)