JUSTICE Secretary Dominic Raab is reportedly considering introducing changes that could limit ministers’ accountability in judicial reviews. 

According to a leaked Ministry of Justice (MoJ) paper, seen by The Guardian, Raab is considering a move which would make it more difficult those who have concerns about decisions made by public bodies to bring successful legal challenges against the Government. 

The document reportedly states: “You have indicated that you are minded to consult on further reforms to judicial review.”

The paper says the document goes onto to make suggestions for change “subject to your initial policy steers and the outcome of any consultation”.

READ MORE: UK Government 'ignoring Scotland' as it rips up human rights law 

Some of the proposed changes reportedly range from dictating the criteria judges must apply in cases, to increasing the cost burden if parties are found not to have standing. 

An MoJ spokesperson said: “We do not comment on leaked documents.” 

Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said the reported changes showed the Government believes “the law only applies to little people”. 

The Labour MP said:  “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.

“Voters will be in no doubt, the Conservatives think it’s one rule for them and one rule for everyone else.”

The Government has also introduced plans for a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, which would mean the UK does not always have to follow case law from the Strasbourg and the Supreme Court in London as the ultimate decision-maker on human rights issues.

Independent public body The Scottish Human Rights Commission has preiously warned that the UK Government's plans showed it was "intent to water down human rights protections" and that it was erecting "additional barriers to accessing justice"

The Scottish Human Rights Commission, an independent public body which is accountable to the Scottish Parliament, warned against the UK Government’s plans in March.

The group's legal and policy leader Baraba Bolton said in March: “If passed, these proposals would be deeply regressive, undermining 20 years of human rights law and policy development across the UK, making it harder for people to enforce their rights and putting the UK in breach of its international obligations. This should be of grave concern to us all.”

READ MORE: European Court of Human Rights: how it grounded the Rwanda flight

Raab's plans come after the European Court of Human Rights, which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights, blocked plans to send some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Charlie Whelton, policy and campaigns officer at human rights group Liberty, told The Guardian: “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.

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“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.”

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.