1. The statutory functions of the Administrative
Justice and Tribunals Council (AJTC) include keeping the administrative
justice system under review, and considering ways to make the
system accessible, fair and efficient.
These functions may seem obscure and technical, but they touch
upon the lives, standards of living and rights of millions of
citizens every year. Our remit includes consideration of the quality
and standard of administration provided by government departments,
and matters in connection with the office of the Parliamentary
and Health Service Ombudsman (a key player in the administrative
justice system and a body falling within the remit of the AJTC).
2. Following the Government's announcement in October
2010 of its intention to abolish the AJTC as part of its programme
of reform of public bodies, we decided to carry out a short inquiry
into the Government's plans for future oversight of the administrative
justice system. The inquiry was launched in October 2011. In
November we took oral evidence from Richard Thomas and Ray Burningham,
respectively Chairman and Chief Executive of the AJTC; and from
Jonathan Djanogly MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for
Justice, and Anna Deignan, Deputy Director, Access to Justice
Directorate at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
We also received ten written submissions.
3. We have been advised during this inquiry by Professor
Martin Partington QC, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of
Bristol. We are grateful to him for his assistance and insight.
4. Under the Public Bodies Act 2011, the Government
has the power to abolish the AJTC by Order. Before coming into
force, the draft Order must be debated and approved by both Houses,
and will also be considered by the House of Commons Justice Committee.
The purpose of this Report is to inform that further scrutiny.
1 Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, Schedule
7, para 13 Back
Standing Order No. 146 Back
Ev 1 Back
Professor Martin Partington QC was appointed as specialist adviser
to this inquiry on 6 December 2011. Back