Article by Jonathan Lewis – When are government policies enforceable by way of judicial review? (R (Good Law Project) v Prime Minister)
Lexis Nexis Public Law analysis written by Jonathan Lewis.
This claim concerned the use of non-governmental communication systems (particularly WhatsApp and private email) for government business. The Good Law Project (‘GLP’) contended that the use of such systems meant that public records that should be retained were in-stead deleted or otherwise not available to be preserved for the public record. It argued that this was unlawful because it was incompatible with a statutory duty under section 3(1) of the Public Records Act 1958 (PRA 1958) and because it amounted to an unjustified breach of policy. Its claim failed in the Divisional Court, whose judgment was upheld by the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal held that there
is no legal duty, enforceable by judicial review, to create and maintain records so that they are available for posterity, such that it is unlawful to use some modern methods of communication. It further held that the eight so called policies identified by GLP were not enforceable as matter of public law.
This article was first published by LexisPSL on 21 December 2022
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