Category Archives: Review

BOOK REVIEW:  CRIMINAL JUDICIAL REVIEW

A Practitioner’s Guide to Judicial Review in the Criminal Justice System and Related Areas

Publ. By HART

Various Authors (General Editor Piers con Berg)

Perhaps surprisingly, this is the first book exclusively devoted to the topic of Criminal Judicial Review.

Do we need one?

Having read this, I think the answer is yes.

Those of us who practice exclusively in criminal law know that there is JR and associated remedies, but not necessarily the range of areas that Public Law can cover, or how to properly bring a review where appropriate.

In other words, you need to spot the point, to take the point.

In an era of increasing specialism, many Criminal Practitioners retain only a hazy idea of the principles of Judicial Review, leaving JR to the “experts”, many of whom are not criminal lawyers. 

LCCSA members may therefore be interested in this book, which brings together areas of both Criminal and Public Law and presents them in a practitioner guide which should equip any practitioner to access the relevant materials and prepare the relevant arguments.

The book is thematically arranged, with topics tackled by different authors (many from 36 Bedford Row) setting out the key principles and identifying grounds arising from conduct of (amongst others) the police, the Courts and Prisons.

Judicial Review allows claims to be made against any Public Authority which has acted unlawfully, including the IPPC or even the LAA.

As members will know, the LCCSA  used JR to challenge the flawed consultation imposed on criminal lawyers by the Ministry of Justice. Although the MOJ ultimately won that at the Appeal Court, there have been ten successful Judicial Reviews against the Ministry of Justice under Grayling’s tenure.

An over-riding concept in Criminal Judicial Review is “serious abuse of power”, and the scope includes police investigations and prosecutorial decisions, as well as oversight of the Courts.  These topics are ably covered in this book.

As a practitioner guide, the book rightly covers the mechanisms for bringing JR., the forms, procedures and timetables that apply, and equally important the availability of legal aid and  the way in which cases can be billed (including costs orders). The editor makes the point that at a time of huge cuts in legal aid funding, costs in some JR cases can be claimed at commercial rates.

Commendably, the book does not steer clear of controversy, suggesting for example possible challenges following the recent appellate decision in DAVIS.

Both Counsel and solicitors have contributed and each has brought their own area of expertise.

All appear enthused by the subject, which really comes to life and takes the novice through all the relevant steps from taking instructions to grant of submission and beyond. 

The chapter on Procedure by Grainne Mellon (Garden Court) is particularly helpful.

The book has a clear and simple style, is easy to use and will meet the needs of the practitioner.

In my view it will become the “go-to” book for Judicial Review.