Evidence of judicial review costs received in response to a 2015 consultation

Ravi Low-Beer made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Justice

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Dear Ministry of Justice,

I write to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The following information appeared in the July 2015 consultation document, Reform of Judicial Review - Proposals for the provision and use of financial information (https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-c...)

“Evidence of Judicial Review Costs

67. The government has basic information on costs data for claimants in judicial review applications. We are requesting further information on costs for claimants that respondents to the consultation may be able to provide in order to make sure the threshold chosen is appropriate and suitable for the policy aim.

68. We take our data on judicial review costs from a range of sources. These include publications by the Public Law Project, Guildhall Chambers and Leigh Day Solicitors, all of whom are independent of government.

69. The data on total cost is not particularly substantial or quality assured, and comes from various sources. The methodologies used are not always clear, and nor is the sample size or approach. The figures, however, tend to put the costs to both sides of a judicial review at between £11,000 and £22,000, adjusted for inflation. Those studies are:

a. in 2007 the Public Law Project estimated that for a straightforward case that proceeds to a full hearing, costs to a claimant could be in the region of £10,000 to £20,000 (adjusted for inflation this would be around £11,000 to £22,000);

b. in 2012 Guildhall Chambers estimated this at £5,000 to £10,000; and

c. Leigh Day Solicitors estimated this at upwards of £30,000 including defendant and claimant costs.

70. Respondents may also wish to note that the court can award costs before a decision has been made, including on the refusal of permission. The government has indicated that it intends to increase the scope for full reasonable costs to be awarded when permission is refused at an oral hearing. Average costs at permission are likely to be significantly lower than those for completed cases (which will have also completed the permission stage).

71. Further evidence of the total costs for claimants, including legal costs and associated matters, would be welcomed. Furthermore, the government would welcome information on typical levels of third party contributions to judicial reviews”.

The Government’s response to the consultation (July 2016) stated, as follows (https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-c...) :

“Question 7: Do you have any data on typical legal costs in the context of judicial reviews or typical contributions to judicial reviews? Please provide details.

19. Of the 39 total responses to the consultation, 28 respondents answered this question. Of those responses 13 said they had data, 15 said they did not.

20. Generally respondents provided anecdotal examples rather than studied data. A range of estimates were provided, many of which are at Chapter 4 of the Consultation. Data included:

• contributions to charities tend to range from £10 to £5,000. It is rare to have bigger donations;

• charities may have to fundraise to £50,000 – £60,000 to bring a judicial review. They may not need to use it all for a piece of litigation but due to the impracticalities of predicting costs at the start of a case there would be implications for advising potential donors that their information might be declared if a percentage threshold was used;

• academics Varda Bondy and Maurice Sunkin provided details of an unpublished, independent study containing data on 502 judicial reviews that reached final hearing from July 2010 – February 2012. As part of this study questionnaires asked solicitors who acted for claimants to provide details of the level of costs, how cases were funded and what costs orders were made. 198 questionnaires were received. The study indicated that in 21% of privately funded cases the costs incurred by claimants were below £15,000 and in 79% of cases the costs were £15,000 or above. 29% of cases the costs were said to have been £50,000 or above; and

• a judicial review concerning Cairngorm National Park where the court ordered the claimants to pay costs of £38,000.” (p35)

Please provide electronic copies of the 39 submissions received in response to the consultation, referred to at paragraph 20 of the Government response (above). If this request needs to be narrowed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, please supply only the 28 responses that answered the question reproduced above, as referred to in paragraph 19 of the Government’s response. If this request needs to be narrowed still further, I would accept copies of the 13 responses that claimed to have data in response to the question reproduced above.

Yours faithfully,

Ravi Low-Beer

Lom, Hannah, Ministry of Justice

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Low-Beer,

 

Please see acknowledgment letter attached in respect of your above
referenced request.

 

Best wishes

 

[1]Ministry of Justice Hannah Lom

Policy Advisor

Justice and Courts Policy Group

102 Petty France

Tel: 0203 334 6219

 

 

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Lom, Hannah, Ministry of Justice

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Low-Beer,

 

Please see attached our response to your FOI request referenced number
171204020.

 

Best wishes

 

 

[1]Ministry of Justice Hannah Lom

Policy Advisor

Justice and Courts Policy Group

102 Petty France

Tel: 0203 334 6219

 

 

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