Government data shows widespread decline in number of judicial review applications in 2021

There were 2,300 applications for judicial review received in 2021, down 18% from 2020 (2,800) and 31% from 2019 (down from 3,400), government data showed.

The decline was primarily in civil immigration and asylum applications, down 31% to 800. However, the number of civil (other) applications fell 9% to 1,400, and criminal applications fell by 10% to 140.

the Quarterly Civil Justice Statistics: October to December 2021 also revealed that of the total number of applications, 1,300 reached the authorization stage in 2021, and of these:

  • 15% (190) were found to be totally without merit (TWM).
  • 370 cases were allowed to proceed and 870 were denied at the authorization stage. However, 64 of the cases denied at the authorization stage were granted at the renewal stage.
  • 430 cases were assessed to be eligible for a final hearing and of these, 93 have since been heard.
  • the average time from case filing to licensing decision was 79 days, and the average time from case filing to final hearing decision was 178 days.

the Quarterly Civil Justice Statistics also presented data for the fourth quarter of 2021. These revealed that applications for judicial review were down 15% compared to the same quarter in 2020 and 29% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 (preferred reference). covid).

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Of the 570 applications received in Q4 2021, 200 were civil immigration and asylum applications, 340 were civil (other) and 31 were criminal, down 26%, down 7% and down 14 % respectively compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Among the fourth quarter applications, 23% have already been closed and 16 have been found to be “totally without merit” (13% of cases having reached the authorization stage).

The Home Office was the department/agency with the highest number of JR claims filed against it in the fourth quarter, with 190 claims. Of these, 13 have obtained permission to proceed to the final hearing (7% of applications) to date.

The second largest recipient of JR cases was local authorities, with 160 cases received, of which to date 17 have been allowed to proceed to final hearing (11% of applications).

The third largest recipient was the Department of Justice, with 100 petitions filed against it. Of these, three have obtained authorization to proceed to the final hearing (3% of applications) to date.

the Quarterly Civil Justice Statistics noted more broadly that civil lawsuits remain below pre-Covid-19 levels. “Following the strong recovery seen thanks to the impact of court action, volumes for all stocks have stabilized in recent quarters,” he added.

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill, which includes reforms to judicial review, is due to reach report stage in the House of Lords on March 28, 2022.

The reforms include giving courts the power to make conditional and prospective rescission orders only, and changing the so-called ‘Cart’ judicial reviews – mostly used in immigration cases – which critics say would effectively prevent plaintiffs from challenging Higher Court decisions to deny leave to appeal.