The Government’s proposed requirement for judicial review claimants to share information on the funding of their claim with defendants is – without a reciprocal requirement – a “fundamentally unprincipled breach of the principle of equality of arms”, the Civil Justice Council has said.
In its recently-published response to a Ministry of Justice consultation, Reform of judicial review: request for further views on the provision of financial information to other parties, the CJC expressed concern that the proposal was a great deal further than the MoJ’s earlier proposals, and changed the scope fundamentally.
The Ministry has been seeking views on its plans to require judicial review claimants to disclose the identity of backers providing more than £3,000.
The CJC added: “[The] proper means to enable a defendant to manage their litigation caseload and costs liability effectively is through the application of the present costs budgeting and management provisions in the CPR to judicial review proceedings.
“The use of cost budgeting would require both applicants and defendants, and where appropriate third parties, to exchange details concerning their expected litigation expenses, thus: (i) properly promoting equality of arms; (ii) ensuring that the position in judicial review proceedings concerning the provision of costs information was consistent with that taken in Pt 7 multi-track proceedings, and did not rest on the proposed unprincipled approach set out in the Consultation paper.”
The Law Society last month also criticised the MoJ’s proposals, saying they would be onerous to claimants, the contributor and the court.