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Judicial Review

Our legal team has extensive experience in Judicial Review applications. We have and continue to be successful in our challenge, so much so that our cases are regularly reported in the press and legal publications.

For some background

Judicial review is a procedure by which a person who has been affected by a particular decision, action or failure to act of a public authority, may make an application to the High Court, which may provide a remedy if it decides that the authority has acted unlawfully.

The judge will review the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached. Judicial review is concerned not with the merits of the decision, but whether the public body has acted lawfully, properly, within its powers and that the right procedures were followed. The court will not substitute the decision of the public body with what it thinks is the ‘correct’ decision.

A public authority may be acting unlawfully if it has made a decision or done something:

  • which is unlawful on the grounds of illegality, which means that they did not have the legal power to do so.
  • which is unlawful on the grounds of reasonableness, which means that the decision is so unreasonable that no reasonable person making the decision could have come to the same decision or done the same thing.
  • which is unlawful on the grounds of procedural impropriety or fairness, which means that the rules of natural justice have not been observed.
  • that is in breach of European Community Law or the Human Rights Act.

If the court finds that the public authority has acted unlawfully, it may do the following:

  • Issue a mandatory order requiring the public body to do something.
  • Issue a prohibiting order preventing the public body from doing something.
  • Issue a quashing order quashing the public body’s decision.
  • Make a declaration.
  • Award damages.

The deadline for making an application for judicial review is three months from the date of the act or omission that is being challenged, although there is an obligation on the person wishing to make an application to act promptly.

The majority of judicial review applications are for immigration and asylum cases, where judicial review is often used as a last resort before deportation. The government has proposals to cut back on these applications and one of the reforms is to cut the time limit for bringing judicial reviews from three months to six weeks and to increase the cost of an application for judicial review.