Prospect gets green light to continue with judicial review

A judicial review challenging the Cabinet Office on civil service pay guidance is likely to be heard in the first week of October.

A High Court hearing has accelerated the proceedings on the grounds that civil service employers are relying on the guidance to inform pay offers for this year.


Prospect has been working with civil service unions, PCS and the FDA, to launch the judicial review. The action comes after the Cabinet Office issued guidance on pay which limited increases to 1-1.5% for 2018-19.

The unions have been calling on the Cabinet Office to engage in further discussions since the guidance, which is far below the offers made to other public sector workers, was issued in June.

The unions wrote to the government on 17 July offering it the chance to withdraw the pay guidance or face legal action.

Despite this invitation, the government failed to respond. The Government Legal Department revealed in early August that the Cabinet Office never intended to consult unions on civil service pay. 

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “Today’s decision to fast track the hearing for the judicial review demonstrates the urgency of the situation.

“Hundreds of thousands of civils servants are relying on the outcome of this hearing. Prospect is committed to challenging this derisory pay offer which demonstrates the government’s unwillingness to engage and reward staff delivering critical national policies, such as Brexit.”

This is the full, joint statement from the Prospect, FDA and PCS general secretaries:

This morning, in the High Court, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies granted our application to have the Judicial Review proceedings we have lodged against the Minister for the Cabinet Office expedited.

We had argued that the issues contained in our judicial review application – relating as they do to the inadequate consultation process on the 2018 civil service pay guidance – were time-critical, given that civil service employers are now relying on this guidance to inform their pay offers for this year. Our application for expediting proceedings had been opposed by the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

The court accepted our arguments and has agreed to seek a date to consider the application for Judicial Review as quickly as possible. Due to pressure on the courts, this is likely to be around the week commencing 1 October 2018.

We are grateful to the court for recognising both the significance of the issues at hand and the necessity to have these matters resolved quickly. It is unfortunate that the Minister chose to oppose this application rather than recognise the need for these issues to be settled quickly.

It is, however, symptomatic of the approach taken to the civil service pay guidance this year and, even at this late stage, we would urge the Minister to reconsider his position and engage in a meaningful process of consultation over the pay arrangements for 400,000 dedicated public servants.