Judicial Review (part one)

Judicial Review

Judicial Review is a specific doctrine which allows Courts a supervisory role over public bodies. It allows Courts to consider the lawfulness of decisions taken by public bodies in exercise of their duties.

The powers related to Judicial Review are contained in section 33 of the Senior Courts Act 1981. This states:

31 Application for judicial review.

(1) An application to the High Court for one or more of the following forms of relief, namely—

(a) a mandatory, prohibiting or quashing order;

(b) a declaration or injunction under subsection (2); or

(c) an injunction under section 30 restraining a person not entitled to do so from acting in an office to which that section applies,

shall be made in accordance with rules of court by a procedure to be known as an application for judicial review.

(2) A declaration may be made or an injunction granted under this subsection in any case where an application for judicial review, seeking that relief, has been made and the High Court considers that, having regard to—

(a) the nature of the matters in respect of which relief may be granted by mandatory, prohibiting or quashing orders;

(b) the nature of the persons and bodies against whom relief may be granted by such orders; and

(c) all the circumstances of the case,

it would be just and convenient for the declaration to be made or the injunction to be granted, as the case may be.

(2A) The High Court—

(a) must refuse to grant relief on an application for judicial review, and

(b) may not make an award under subsection (4) on such an application,

if it appears to the court to be highly likely that the outcome for the applicant would not have been substantially different if the conduct complained of had not occurred.

(3) No application for judicial review shall be made unless the leave of the High Court has been obtained in accordance with rules of court; and the court shall not grant leave to make such an application unless it considers that the applicant has a sufficient interest in the matter to which the application relates.

In order to advise a client on a Judicial Review claim, you need to establish:

  1. Which decision you want to challenge
  2. Whether the body who made the decision was ‘public’
  3. Whether the client has ‘standing’ to bring the claim
  4. Whether the claim is in time
  5. The basis on which you argue that the decision was wrong
  6. What remedy you want the Court to order.