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Judicial Review and Courts Bill completes passage through Parliament

28 April 2022

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The Judicial Review and Courts Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons amendments in 'ping pong' on Wednesday 27 April. 

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill introduces reforms to ensure the government and public authorities are subject to the law, protect individual rights and reduce the backlog across criminal courts, tribunals and Coroners' Courts.

Consideration of amendments

The bill was considered by the House of Lords between 7 January and 6 April 2022, before passing back to the House of Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.

Members of the Lords considered the Commons response to Lords amendments (changes) to the bill.

Lords divisions

There was one division  (vote) on an alternative amendment (11B) to one disagreed to by the Commons. This would have required an independent review of the need for provision of publicly funded legal representation for bereaved people at inquests. The amendment was not agreed to, so will not stand as part of the Bill. All other Commons reasons were agreed to without a vote.

Catch up

Next Steps 

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill, it now awaits the final step of Royal Assent when it will become an Act (law). 

Royal Assent is expected to take place on Thursday 28 April.

Explore further information 

Read background information on the bill in the House of Lords Library briefing

What's happened so far?

Third reading: Wednesday 6 April

Third reading is the chance for members to ‘tidy up' a bill, making small changes to ensure it is effective.   

One technical amendment (change), proposed by the government, was agreed to. This change adjusts the terminology used in a section of the bill regarding payments for pro bono representation so that it relates to devolution in Northern Ireland.

Members also discussed the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages.   

Catch up

Report Stage: Thursday 31 March

Proposed changes 

Members forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to consider at report stage. 

The amendments covered a range of subjects, including:

  • the review of Cart Judicial Reviews

  • the review of the single justice proedure

  • ensuring that certain safeguards are met before a coroner can discontinue an investigation into a death

  • establishing an appeal process for families who disagree with the coroners' decision

  • safeguards for remote inquest hearings

  • removing the means test for legal aid applications for legal help for
    bereaved people at inquests

  • allowing coroners to record risk factors relevant in a death by suicide.

Lords divisions 

There were four divisions (votes) on proposed changes to the bill.

Quashing orders

The first vote was on amendment 1, which removes the power to include provision in quashing orders removing or limiting their retrospective effect.

Members voted 148 in favour and 143 against, so the change was made.

The second vote was on amendment 4, which removes the presumption that where a suspended or prospective-only quashing order would offer adequate redress, such a quashing order should be made in preference to an ordinary quashing order.

Members voted 159 in favour and 134 against, so the change was made.


The third vote was on amendment 5, which inserts a new clause to enable appeals to the Supreme Court on certain Upper Tribunal decisions.

Members voted 146 in favour and 132 against, so the change was made.

Legal represention for bereaved people

The fourth vote was on amendment 25, which would ensure that bereaved people, such as family members, are entitled to publicly funded legal representation in inquests, where public bodies such as the police or a hospital trust are legally represented.

Members voted 136 in favour and 112 against, so the change was made.

Catch up

Committee stage day 2: Thursday 24 February

Committee stage is the first chance for line by line examination of the bill.

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • establishing a judicial inquiry into the adequacy of criminal courts in their treatment of, and service to, women and girls

  • ensuring that an accused person is not only informed about the consequences of giving or failing to give a written indication of plea

  • online procedural rules and assistance

  • ensuring certain safeguards are met before a coroner can discontinue an investigation into a death, and that family members of the deceased are provided with the coroner’s provisional reasons so they can make an informed decision as to whether to consent to the discontinuation

  • establishing an appeal process for families who disagree with the decision to discontinue an investigation

  • reviewing the potential impact of remote inquest hearings

  • ensuring bereaved people are entitled to publicly funded legal representation in inquests where public bodies are legally represented.

Catch up

Committee stage day 1: Monday 21 February

Members discussed amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • removing the proposed power for the court to prevent a quashing order from having retrospective effect

  • the use of quashing orders as a defence in criminal proceedings

  • allowing courts to hear a judicial review of a tribunal decision where there is a fundamental error of law

  • requiring the Lord Chancellor to carry out and publish a review of the operation and consequences of the ouster of Cart judicial reviews.

Catch up

Second reading: Monday 7 February

Members discussed the main issues of the bill during the second reading debate, including:

  • enabling courts to impose suspended quashing orders

  • introducing automated online procedures for certain criminal cases

  • maximum prison sentences that a magistrate court can impose

  • enabling a coroner to discontinue an investigation where the cause of death becomes clear before an inquest has begun.

Members speaking 

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government. 

Members speaking in the debate included: 

  • Baroness Chakrabati (Labour), council member of human rights and judicial reform charity, Justice

  • Lord Judge (Crossbench), former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

  • Lord Sandhurst (Conservative) former chair of the General Bar of England and Wales

  • Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (Liberal Democrats), barrister and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: StevovoB / Pixabay