This presentation draws on legal and empirically based research on the use and effects of judicial review (JR) to consider why and how this process matters to local authorities and whether the process improves the quality of decision-making.
Course level: Intermediate
Running Time: 38 minutes
Date of recording: 5th November 2014
Downloadable paper: Yes
Against the background of the government's recent programme of reforms to the system, this course draws on legal and empirically based research on the use and effects of judicial review to consider, from an external perspective, why and how this process matters to local authorities. In particular it will consider the challenges presented and opportunities offered by judicial review and the particular place of judicial review in our dynamic system of public service delivery.
• Some elementary propositions:
• The importance of JR is rooted in the rule of law
• The need to ensure that government is legally accountable is fundamental to good government
• The partnership between judges and public authorities
• The effect of JR on routine decision-making
• Research on the impact of JR on local services
• The links between JR challenge and the ‘quality’ of services
• Do poorly performing authorities attract higher levels of JR challenge than better performing authorities?
• Do legal challenges lead to improvements in the 'quality’ of services?
• JR in practice
• The permission stage and settlement
• How many JRs are settled?
• How many JRs are settled in favour of the claimants?
• What are the factors that influence whether a JR is settled or not?
• Conclusion: Does the quashing of decisions reflect the coercive authority of JR or reveal its fundamental weakness as a provider of effective redress?
Professor Maurice Sunkin, University of Essex
Maurice Sunkin is a Professor in the School of Law. He is General Editor of the journal Public Law and an Associate Member of Landmark Chambers, London. For the parliamentary session 2013-2014 he served as Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution.
His past university posts include: Director of Research in the School of Law (2007-14); Dean of the School of Law (2006-07) and the Faculty of Law and Management (2006-7); University of Essex Appeals Officer/Ombudsman (2002-04); and Head of the Department of Law (1997-2000). He has been a Trustee and management committee member of the Public Law Project (2000-11).
His advisory work includes acting as adviser to the Equality and Human Rights Commission regarding its report on human rights in the UK (2011-12) and as academic legal advisor to the Whitehall Working Group on Crown Immunity (2002). Before coming to Essex in 1989 he taught at the Polytechnic of the South Bank and served as Head of School of Law (1981-3).