If you are impacted by a decision made by a public body, and you feel that the decision has not been reached in the right way, you might be able to seek a judicial review to reassess that decision.
Draycott Browne employ specialist judicial review solicitors who will consider all the factors of your case and help you to establish whether the correct processes have been followed.
If we determine that you have grounds to apply for an application, our experts will take you through the process from start to finish, giving you the best possible chance of achieving the outcome you need.
What is a judicial review?
A judicial review is a process by which a judge will review the lawfulness of a decision made by a public body, to see if the law has been correctly applied.
The review is not a chance at a second hearing with the view of changing the original decision – if you are seeking to appeal a decision that has already been made there are other options available to you, such as appealing to a higher court.
The sole purpose of a judicial review is to intervene if there were issues with the way the original hearing was carried out.
There are three main grounds that merit a judicial review claim:
- procedural unfairness
If a claim is successful, generally the decision will be “quashed”, or deemed invalid, and must be re-made. It is possible that the same result will still be reached, but the decision has to be taken by following the proper procedures, which means that in theory a better, more sound verdict will be reached.
Pursuing a judicial review is often the last course of action available to check any potential abuse of power by public bodies and the Government. It can be time consuming and complex, so the right lawyer is key to building the strongest case and maximising your chance of success.
What are valid grounds for a judicial review?
A judicial review can challenge a decision or action made by a public body. A decision can be challenged if a public body has acted in a way:
- that is unlawful. A public body must not make decisions that they do not have the legal power to make; they need to operate within the framework of the law as it applies to them. If they fail to follow the law correctly, any decisions or actions they take (or fail to take) are unlawful. The onus is on them to ensure that they only act on relevant information, addressing the right questions and making sure that they have everything they need to come to a well informed decision.
- that is deemed to be so unreasonable that no other reasonable decision-maker would have made the same decision. If this happens the decision may be quashed on the grounds of being “irrational” or “perverse”. This can be challenging to demonstrate and is often argued alongside other grounds.
- without observing the rules of natural justice – in other words, public bodies must be impartial and act fairly. They must ensure that they follow procedure and are not biased in their decision making.
- police forces
- magistrates and county courts
- government departments
- the NHS.
Who can be challenged by a judicial review?
A judicial review can challenge the Government, and any public body. These include, but are not limited to:
What are the time limits?
There are strict time limits in force if you are considering applying for a judicial review. In most cases the claim must be prompt, and within 3 months. Seeking urgent advice is crucial as the time frame is so tight and inflexible.
Who is involved in a judicial review?
- The claimant. The applicant for the judicial review claim is the claimant. In order to bring a judicial review, you must be able to show that you have ‘standing’ before the court, or a genuine interest in bringing the case.
- The defendant. The defendant is the public body which made the decision that you are challenging.
- Interested parties. Interested parties have an interest in the claim – they are not the claimant or the defendant.
- Interveners. Interveners are third parties who can provide the court with additional expertise or information.
What are the stages in a judicial review?
There are several stages in a judicial review – your solicitor will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that you take the right action at the right time.
- Pre-action protocol. This is the first stage – the claimant needs to write a formal letter to the defendant outlining their claim. This can be a good early test of the strength of the claim; sometimes a defendant will concede that an error has been made at this stage, which can avoid the need for any legal action. A response is usually received within 14 days.
- Application for permission. If the matter is not settled at this point, either because the response received isn’t satisfactory, or because no response is received at all, then an application claim form can be submitted to the administrative court outlining your grounds for requesting a judicial review. It may be necessary at this stage to ask for an urgent order from the court if it is likely that the public body could take further steps in the meantime that might prejudice the case. Draycott Browne have extensive experience of this process and can assist you with your application.
- The substantive stage. If your application for a review is denied, it is possible to request that the decision be reconsidered – there are only seven days to register this request. If your application for a review is accepted, your claim will proceed to a full hearing. How long this takes will vary, but it can take several months from acceptance to hearing. After all the evidence is received from both parties, the final hearing will take place; the judge will read the arguments from both sides ahead of the hearing, meaning that many judicial reviews can take as little as a couple of hours, although they can take several days depending on the complexity of the case. The review will take place in one of the regional court centres, or at the Royal Courts of Justice in London; the claimant does not have to attend the court in person.
- Judgement. The judgement may be delivered at the time or shortly afterwards, but most of the time judgements are “handed down” in writing at a later date. At this stage it will be determined who is liable to pay the costs, and if permission is given to appeal.
- Appeal. Either party can appeal against the judgement, but generally, permission to appeal is refused at this stage.
What can a successful judicial review do for me?
If your application is successful, the court may choose to grant a remedy with one of six orders:
- A quashing order- this overturns the original invalid decision. It must then be taken again within the correct guidelines.
- A prohibiting order - this order prevents an unlawful decision from being made.
- A mandatory order - this order demands that a duty is performed, or a decision is reached.
- A declaration – this sets out the rights or legal position of the parties
- An injunction – similar to a mandatory order, this can force the performance of a duty, or prevent an illegal act.
- Damages – if a public body is found to have interfered with your human rights unlawfully, damages can be awarded.
The ideal outcome of a judicial review is to have the original decision quashed. When this happens, the decision must be taken again, but lawfully, leading to a sound and fairer outcome.
Bringing a judicial review claim can be costly, as an unsuccessful claim can mean having to pay your own costs, and those of defendant. However, it’s important not to be deterred as there are a number of ways that you may be able to fund your claim – speak to us and we’ll give you a frank assessment of your options.
How Draycott Browne can help
At Draycott Browne, we have extensive knowledge of the process of bringing and defending a claim. Whether you are seeking to apply for a judicial review, or you are public body facing one, we can help. Swift action is essential; we will work responsively with you all the way for the best outcome. Sometimes just making the application for a judicial review can be enough to trigger a re-examination of the situation and potential negotiation.
We can assist you whatever stage you are at, although sooner is always better. We are in demand for our specialist expertise, and our clients know that we will give them clear and practical advice throughout the process.
The Judicial Review Lawyers at Draycott Browne, are widely recognised as one of the North of England's leading team of criminal defence lawyers with specialist Judicial Review expertise.
Contact us today by calling 0161 228 2244. If you would like us to contact you, simply fill in our online enquiry form and a member of the team will be in touch as soon as possible.
We are highly regarded nationally across the legal profession, and noted for consistently delivering positive results. Our team possess a breadth of technical knowledge and experience of Judicial Reviews and will provide you with the expertise needed throughout the process.
Our team regularly act for clients in London and throughout Midlands and of course the North West including clients from Birmingham and Liverpool. By entrusting us, you can be assured that you will be working with a team of highly skilled and experienced Judicial Review Lawyers who have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the law.
Our legal team is available 7 days a week. For expert legal advice or representation, call Draycott Browne today on +44 (0)161 266 7088
When you are facing the stiffest challenge, you cannot afford to settle for anything less than Draycott Browne.