Proposals for a “planning chamber” designed to speed up the judicial review process are one of a number being put to consultation by the Ministry of Justice.
Views have been invited on the creation of a specialist planning chamber to “deliver significant reductions” in the time taken for judicial reviews in planning and infrastructure cases to be determined. Planning judicial reviews and statutory challenges would be transferred to the chamber under the proposals, and be heard only by specialist judges.
The proposals also allow for a consultation on who is entitled to apply for a judicial review, with questions around restricting this right to only those who have a “direct interest” in the case.
Justice minister Chris Grayling said the proposals will “ensure legal challenges are heard swiftly, so crucial new building projects no longer fall by the wayside because of needless delays”.
“We want to make sure judicial review continues its crucial role in holding authorities and others to account, but also that it is used for the right reasons and is not abused by people to cause vexatious delays or to generate publicity for themselves at the expense of ordinary tax-payers,” he added.
The consultation document states that the creation of the chamber is likely to “reassure developers that any challenges will be resolved quickly”, particularly where there are procedures that give specific time limits for determining challenges and judicial reviews.