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Challenging the cuts through strategic litigation

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  1. Challenging the cuts through strategic litigation

  2. What is Public Interest Litigation? • PIL is a way of using the law to help vulnerable and disadvantaged groups/individuals. • Impact on more than one person • Being strategic: - combining tactics - working with others

  3. Opportunities PIL can offer • Raise awareness of rights and generate public debate • Ensure government/public authorities meet their obligations • Challenge laws/policies/decisions/practices that violate human rights • Support existing work • Strategic use of resources

  4. Legal grounds for challenging budget cut decisions • Equality duty • Judicial Review grounds • Human Rights Act • Domestic laws/policies

  5. Judicial Review • Judicial Review: where the court reviews the legality of acts/decisions/policies of bodies exercising public functions • Usually public authorities • Last resort • Alternative remedies

  6. Grounds for Judicial Review • Illegal • Irrational • Procedurally unfair

  7. Considerations in JR • Standing • Time limits • Alternative remedies

  8. Role for you in Judicial Review • Identify a case • Sponsor NGO (apply to PILS for support) • Third party intervener • Provide a witness statement in a case • Support a case through campaigning, policy work, lobbying, public education

  9. Judicial Review remedies • The public body may be ordered to do something or not to do something • The decision may be quashed • A declaration of rights/obligations can be made by the court • Injunctions can be granted • Compensation is rare

  10. Be strategic! Consider: • Issue and public authorities duty • What your aim is? • Can law help you achieve your aim? • What is the best case to take? • What the impact may be? Involves a risk analysis

  11. Practical tips • Keep records/gather evidence • Discuss ideas and options with others • Get early legal advice • Strategise/plan your case

  12. Contact Details Melissa Murray Project Manager and Solicitor The PILS Project Address: Arthur House, 41 Arthur Street, Belfast, BT1 4GB Tel: 028 90446201 Email: melissa@pilsni.org