Unions joined campaigners today to condemn the coalition's crackdown on legal challenges to government policy.
Addressing a conference of the CBI, David Cameron said that opponents of government policies would be given less time to apply for judicial review, face higher fees and see the chances to appeal halved.
Equality impact assessments would no longer be compulsory and consultation periods would be cut.
The Prime Minister said judicial review had become a "massive growth industry" which was delaying action and costing taxpayers too much money.
While Mr Cameron attempted to play up the trivial nature of the majority of judicial reviews, they have in fact been a highly effective tool for human rights lawyers challenging the government over allegations of abuse and torture.
Legal action charity Reprieve executive director Clare Algar said: "The Prime Minister seems determined to hamstring the courts when it comes to holding ministers accountable for their actions.
"The government is this week attempting to force plans for secret courts through the House of Lords, which would put ministers above the law. Now we hear he is seeking to limit the public's ability to challenge decisions made by ministers."
Mr Cameron also "called time" on equality impact assessments, saying: "We have smart people in Whitehall who consider equalities issues while they're making the policy. We don't need all this extra tick-box stuff."
He further suggested that ministers announced policies which then too often got bogged down in Whitehall "red tape" and said ministers would now be able to decide how long a consultation period was required.
"If you can get it done properly in a fortnight - great.
"And we are going further, saying: if there is no need for a consultation, then don't have one."
RMT general secretary Bob Crow told the Star: "This government of the rich and idle is once again using its power and privilege to swing the axe at equality and workplace rights as they dance to the bosses' tune.
"This attack would allow greedy employers to short-circuit fundamental rights to consultation and equalities impact assessments purely in the interests of profit and must be fought every step of the way."
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This move smacks of a desperate attempt to placate the business lobby which, like the TUC, is deeply concerned at our economy's anaemic growth. Scrapping equality impact assessments would be reckless and is not the way to get our country moving again."
While PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Against the backdrop of the threat of a triple-dip recession, this is a clear attempt to restrict ordinary people's rights to question and challenge this Tory-led government's unfair and damaging cuts that so obviously are not working."
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