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Judicial Review Reforms: one step closer

  • United Kingdom
  • Real estate planning - Planning briefings


Following the Government’s response in April 2013 to the consultation on judicial review proposals which sought views on a package of measures to stem the growth in applications for judicial reviews, the Civil Procedure Rules are amended from 1 July 2013 in order to reduce the time limit for judicial review applications from 3 months to 6 weeks.

In April 2013, the Government published the response to the consultation paper entitled “Judicial Review: Proposals for Reform”, indicating that a number of measures would be introduced. These included:

  • A reduction in the time limits for bringing a claim from three months to six weeks in planning cases and 30 days in procurement cases;
  • The introduction of a £215 court fee for an oral renewal hearing, where the claimant does not accept a refusal of permission on the papers, and asks for the decision to be reconsidered at a hearing; and
  • The removal of the right to an oral renewal where the case is assessed as totally without merit on the papers

As from 1 July 2013, the time limit for bringing a Judicial Review is shorted to six weeks for planning cases and thirty days in procurement cases. The right to a reconsideration at a hearing of the refusal of permission to bring a Judicial Review is also removed where the application is certified as totally without merit by the Judge considering the application on the papers. These changes are taking place through The Civil Procedure (Amendment No.4) Rules 2013 which amend Rule 54 (Judicial Review) of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

There are transitional provisions, however. If the grant of planning permission is prior to 1 July 2013, the Judicial Review time limit will remain three months whereas any planning decisions granted after the introduction of the rules on 1 July 2013 will be subject to the new six week time limit.

From the perspective of developers impatiently waiting the end of the Judicial Review period at which point they can complete on a contract or commence construction, the reduction of the time limit for bringing a Judicial Review claim will be welcomed. Where the grant of planning permission is due to be issued shortly, developers may wish to consider not completing the related section 106 agreement in order for the permission to be issued until 1 July so as to benefit from the reduced Judicial Review period.

The changes will also bring the Judicial Review position in planning cases into line with the six week challenge period both for planning decisions made by the Secretary of State and the making of a development consent order.