David Davis to rebel against ‘profoundly unconservative’ judicial review bill
David Davis MP has pledged to lead a rebellion against the government’s proposed changes to judicial review, branding them an assault on the legal system.
Before the first test of the Judicial Review and Courts Bill in the Commons today, Mr Davis wrote in an article for The Guardian that the plans would “tip the scales of law in favour of the powerful”.
The 2019 Conservative manifesto said the mechanism should be “available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state”, but said it should not be “abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays”.
The MP said: “Such attempts to consolidate power are profoundly unconservative and forget that in a society governed by the rule of law, the government does not always get its way.”
Mr Davis said the government was trying to “deny a court jurisdiction in a certain matter” by means of ouster clauses.
He wrote: “Left unchecked, the use of these ouster clauses could give a government free rein to designate certain decisions it has made, or the use of certain powers it hands itself, to be unchallengeable in the courts.
“And the government, through this bill, wants to establish a framework for how ouster clauses can be applied to other areas in future legislation. This is entirely wrong.
“It all too clearly leaves the door open for further ouster clauses to be created that remove the courts from decisions in matters such as employment tribunals or social security.”
He said it did “not take a wild imagination to picture a future government, racked by constant losses in the courts on welfare matters, to suddenly legislate to remove the court’s vital oversight functions” in decisions over employment tribunal decisions or benefits.