Bath MP and Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP has criticised the Government’s Judicial Review and Courts Bill, claiming it is another attempt that weakens institutions and rights that hold the Government to account. The Judicial Review and Courts Bill restricts people’s ability to obtain a judicial review and has been described by the Law Society as ‘chilling.’
The Bill includes prospective-only quashing orders which have been criticised for arbitrarily discriminating between those affected by an unlawful measure before a court judgement and those affected after one.
In the words of the Public Law Project:
If a court issues a prospective-only quashing order, it is effectively saying: ‘Even thought the public authority acted outside of the powers that Parliament granted to it, we must pretend that this past action was lawful and we are only going to do something about it moving forwards.’
Commenting after Wera Hobhouse MP said:
“This is yet another Government programme of constitutional reform that weakens the institutions and rights that hold them to account.
“This Bill, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the Nationality and Borders Bill and the Government’s voter ID proposals are all immoral attempts at trying to weaken people’s rights. I stand against any attempts to weaken the institutions and rights that hold the Government and the powerful to account.
“Prospective-only quashing orders damaged the basic principle that underpins our democracy: that individuals must have the power to challenge the powerful when the powerful get things wrong. If the Government is spared the risk of legal consequences then the motivation for good decision making is much, much lower.
“The Bill is a shameless and disgraceful restriction that weakens the law and effectively puts Government actions beyond the reach of the law. It's another Conservative assault on the rule of law and accompanies cracking down on the right to peaceful protest.”