High Court rejects disability charity’s bid to bring anti-Jackson judicial review

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By Legal Futures

19 September 2011

High Court: courts cannot interfere now the matter is before Parliament

The High Court has rejected a leading disability charity’s bid to judicially review the way the government consulted on implementing the Jackson reforms.

The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA), which represents the UK’s 40,000 spinal cord injured people, was supported in its action by other victims’ groups, including brain injury charity Headway and Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA),

It argued that the reforms, which charities fear will hit the most seriously injured victims of injury and accidents the hardest, are unlawful because the government failed to carry out proper assessments of how its proposals would affect disabled people.

The charity also contended that the government failed to undertake a proper consultation, saying that the six weeks between the green paper consultation closing in February and the government issuing a response in the House of Commons was insufficient and that the government ignored the high level of opposition to the plans.

However, Dan Burden, the head of public affairs at the SIA, said the application for judicial review was recently rejected because the reforms are now before Parliament and the Administrative Court said it could not interfere.

He said the SIA’s counsel had advised otherwise and it is now considering whether to seek an oral hearing.

Mr Burden said the SIA would continue “to exert pressure wherever we can”, complaining that the claimant’s voice is not being heard in the debate over the reforms. “We don’t think the government properly considered the impact on disabled people, and the disproportionate and damaging affect this will have on them,” he said. “The principle of full compensation is now going to be a thing of the past.”

The Public Law Project had also threatened action over the lack of costs protection for those bringing judicial review proceedings themselves, but this was ultimately not pursued.

On Saturday, the Guardian reported that justice minister Jonathan Djanogly, who is the minister responsible for the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, could profit personally from the Jackson reforms if they benefit the insurance industry because he is a minority partner in a Lloyd’s underwriting partnership.

Mr Djanogly told the paper that his financial affairs are a matter of public record and that the reforms are based on Sir Rupert Jackson’s independent report.


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