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Cameron vows to speed up decisions
8:36am Monday 19th November 2012 in Business Daily
A CRACKDOWN on "time wasting" legal challenges to planning decisions and other public policies will be promised by David Cameron as part of efforts to boost economic recovery.
Opponents will be given less time to apply for judicial review, face higher fees and see the chances to appeal halved under proposals to be published by the Ministry of Justice.
The Prime Minister will tell business leaders that he is determined to "get a grip" on the process after the number of applications almost trebled in a decade, delaying major projects.
And he will compare deficit-reduction efforts to the fight against Hitler, suggesting Whitehall rules should be "circumvented" as during wartime to speed up decision making. The shake-up of the judicial review process is due to be announced by Mr Cameron in his speech to business leaders at the CBI annual conference.
Downing Street said it was aimed at making people "think twice about time-wasting" after application numbers rose from 160 in 1975 to 11,200 last year. But it was attacked by campaigners as a fresh Government assault on planning laws.
Dan McLean, of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, told The Telegraph: "Putting this option further out of reach for many people will only make it even harder for local people to take a democratic role in planning decisions where they live."
Officials denied undermining the public's right to challenge public authorities, insisting the aim was to end unnecessary delays and cut out weak cases submitted "even when the applicant knows they have no chance".
But they declined to give any details of the sorts of cases considered "spurious" or any detail of by how much fees could rise or how far the present three-month time limit for applications might be cut.
In his speech to the central London gathering, Mr Cameron is expected to complain that judicial review had become a "massive growth industry" that was delaying action and costing taxpayers too much money.
"We urgently needed to get a grip on this. So here's what we're going to do: reduce the time limit when people can bring cases; charge more for reviews - so people think twice about time-wasting," he will say. "And instead of giving hopeless cases up to four bites of the cherry to appeal a decision, we will halve that to two."
© Press Association 2012
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