Gina Miller discusses her new True and Fair political party
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The Ministry of Justice document suggests the Justice Secretary, who is currently deputy prime minister, wants to introduce changes which would limit the accountability of ministers in judicial reviews brought by claimants who are worried about the way in which decisions have been taken by public bodies. Ms Miller, 57, tweeted: “I’ve warned and fought against the Government putting themselves above the law for years.
The path to the UK becoming an elective dictatorship continues as long as the Tories are in power
“The path to the UK becoming an elective dictatorship continues as long as the Tories are in power.”
Businessman Ms Miller has herself challenged the Government on two separate occasions. In 2016 after the UK voted to quit the EU, the High Court ruled the Government needed to legislate to invoke Article 50, the mechanism by which a member state leaves the bloc.
Three years later, her attempt to prevent Boris Johnson similarly proroguing Parliament was dismissed by the High Court – although a few days later the Scottish Court of Session ruled prorogation was unlawful, and this decision was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The document, which was sent by a whistleblower to The Guardian, states that Mr Raab had “indicated that you are minded to consult on further reforms to judicial review”.
It makes suggestions for change “subject to your initial policy steers and the outcome of any consultation”.
Proposed changes range from dictating the criteria judges must apply in cases, to increasing the cost burden if parties are found not to have standing.
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An MoJ spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked documents.”
Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said the reported changes showed the Government thinks “the law only applies to the little people”.
He added: “This leak is yet more proof that the Lord Chancellor and this arrogant Conservative Government thinks that the law only applies to the little people.
“Whether it’s their attacks on judicial review, the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money handed out to their mates in Covid contracts, the Partygate scandal or their so-called ‘Bill of Rights’, which will stop victims of crime getting justice, the Conservatives have shown their contempt for the British people.
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“Voters will be in no doubt, the Conservatives think it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else.”
Charlie Whelton, policy and campaigns officer at human rights group Liberty, said: “This leaked document suggests that the government plans to make it even harder for people to challenge them and make themselves even less accountable to the public.
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen an unprecedented assault on our legal rights, including in the Judicial Review and Courts Act and through ongoing proposals to scrap the Human Rights Act. The government is determined to make it as difficult as possible to take them to court and hold them accountable for unlawful actions.
“Whether by putting up more barriers to bringing cases, overturning judgments they don’t like or blocking off more and more actions from challenge, the government’s attempts to avoid accountability set a very dangerous precedent for all future governments of all stripes.”
Tracy Doig, head of international advocacy at Freedom from Torture, said the proposals were “chilling”.
She added: “The independence of the judiciary from government influence is a cornerstone of democracy in this country, based on hundreds of years of legal precedence.
“Raab’s chilling vision of a government above the law is a threat to the rights that protect every one of us.”
The Government has introduced plans for a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, that would mean the UK does not always have to follow case law from Strasbourg and the Supreme Court in London is the ultimate decision-maker on human rights issues.
It comes after the European Court of Human Rights, which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights, blocked plans to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The Government insists the reform would strengthen freedom of speech and prevent “trivial” legal claims, but opponents say it would limit the ability of citizens to challenge the state.
In August, a Home Office video published on Twitter pointed the finger at “activist lawyers” it accused of frustrating efforts to deport people with no right to remain in the UK.
Similarly, speaking to the Tory Party conference in 2020 via video link, Mr Johnson said: “We’re also backing those police up, protecting the public by changing the law to stop the early release of serious sexual and violent offenders and stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the home secretary would doubtless – and rightly – call the lefty human rights lawyers, and other do-gooders.”
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