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The expert solicitors at JMW can provide practical advice on the possibility of bringing a claim for judicial review. We will advise you on whether your proposed challenge is capable of being brought before the High Court, and on any steps that need to be taken in the first instance. If judicial review is appropriate, we will support you throughout the application process.
We have acted on behalf of various different clients seeking applications for judicial review, including companies, charities and individuals. Using our considerable experience and skills in this field, we can act for you in seeking to obtain the appropriate remedy, such as court orders to quash the original decision and require the public body to retake it.
We can discuss your situation in detail and advise you of the options available to you.
Find out more about how JMW can help you make an application for judicial review by getting in touch today. Call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will call you back.
How JMW Can Help You Apply for a Judicial Review
If you wish to challenge the decision or action of a public body, our team of solicitors will be able to discuss your challenge with you and advise on whether you may be able to bring a claim for judicial review.
You need to act swiftly in seeking legal advice if you believe you have a potential judicial review claim, as there are strict time frames within which you can make an application to court for judicial review. If you are outside the timeframe, you may have lost the opportunity to bring a legal challenge; therefore, it is important that you act promptly in speaking to a solicitor.
There are multiple factors that our lawyers will discuss with you to ascertain whether judicial review is available or appropriate in the circumstances. We have acted for a range of clients seeking judicial reviews, including individuals, businesses and organisations. Our solicitors have the expertise required to be able to guide you through the process and set out your options in a manner that is clear and easy to understand.
We will provide insightful, practical advice at each step of the potential challenge to ensure that you are aware of your prospects of success in challenging the decision of a public body, and to ensure that you are comfortable that you understand what the process might entail.
What is Judicial Review?
Judicial review is a way of challenging the legality of a decision made by a public body. It involves making an application to court and asking a judge to review the legality of an action taken or decision made by a public body, such as a local council or government body.
It then assesses the way in which the decision has been made, whether the body was acting in accordance with its powers and whether the correct processes have been followed.
Should you feel that a decision made by a public body has not been reached in the correct way, you may be able to apply for an order for judicial review.
Can I Make an Application for Judicial Review?
There are a series of factors to consider in order to determine whether a judicial review challenge can be issued at court:
- The identity of the proposed claimant, and whether they are sufficiently affected by the decision to bring a challenge (i.e. whether they have ‘standing’ to bring the claim);
- The identity of the decision-maker, and whether they made the decision while exercising a public function;
- Whether there is any alternative route to challenge the decision before commencing court proceedings, such as in internal or external appeal process, and if there is, whether all stages have been exhausted;
- The potential grounds for challenge - there are several legal grounds on which a claim can be made for judicial review, and we will need to assess the circumstances carefully to understand whether the proposed challenge falls within any of these grounds;
- The timing of the decision - challenges by way of judicial review must be brought promptly and no later than three months from the date of the decision under challenge. There are steps to be taken before a judicial review is issued at court, and these steps need to be factored into the timeframe. As soon as consideration has been made to bring a challenge by way of judicial review, you should seek legal advice so as not to fall foul of the strict time limit.
Which Public Bodies can be Challenged by Way of Judicial Review?
The decisions of any public body are technically capable of being challenged by way of judicial review, provided they are exercising a public function when making the decision. Decisions of a non-public body that is exercising public functions on behalf of a public body may also be capable of being judicially reviewed.
We have a broad range of experience in making applications for judicial review against various public body defendants.
Some examples of the types of bodies who may become defendants to a judicial review challenge include:
- Government departments
- The NHS and local health authorities
- Magistrates’ and coroners courts
- Local councils
- Prisons and police forces
- Schools and school governing bodies
- Regulatory and supervisory bodies
The Grounds of Judicial Review
A decision can be challenged on several bases:
- Illegality - this ground applies where a decision-maker has acted in a way that they legally were not able to do. For example, they may have made a decision that goes beyond the remit of their legal powers of decision making.
- Irrationality - the decision-maker has made a decision that no reasonable person acting in their shoes at the time could have made.
- Unfairness - the decision-maker has failed to follow the correct procedure when making the decision, for example, the decision-maker did not consult with the correct people, did not refer to the appropriate information, or did not provide reasons where it ought to have been done.
- Legitimate expectation - the claimant had an expectation that a different decision would be made - i.e. the decision-maker had indicated it would make a particular decision and then made a different one.
Judicial Review Remedies
If you are able to argue grounds of judicial review successfully, the potential remedies that a court may order are:
- A quashing order, which revokes the decision under challenge
- A mandatory order, which requires the decision-maker to take steps that the court directs (for instance, requiring the decision-maker to re-make the decision, or to provide reasons for having made the decision under challenge)
- An injunction, preventing the decision-maker from continuing with or commencing a certain course of action
Importantly, where a court determines that a decision was unlawful, it will not remake the decision on behalf of the decision-maker (i.e. it will not substitute a decision with what it considers to be the ‘correct’ decision).
It may be possible to claim damages in certain limited circumstances; however, damages are generally not available in claims for judicial review.
JMW has a team of lawyers who specialise in judicial review and have a broad range of experience, having acted in a series of complex and high-profile claims. Some recent examples include:
- A series of challenges brought by a claimant against the chief constable of a UK police force and the Independent Office for Police Conduct in relation to an investigation involving the freezing of £1.6 million of the claimant’s assets
- Challenges against a city council and police on behalf of a former mayor
- Challenges against the English and Welsh governments in relation to various aspects of COVID-19 regulations in England and Wales (some of which were issued claims and others taken to the pre-action stage). Our clients have included:
- The English hospitality sector - we acted on behalf of Sacha Lord, the nighttime economy advisor to the mayor of Greater Manchester in two of Mr Lord’s challenges against COVID regulations, and Hugh Osmond, the founder of Punch Taverns and Pizza Express
- The Welsh hospitality industry
- Outdoor education centres for children in England and Wales
- Gym owners in Wales
- Shisha bar and restaurant owners
- A voluntary organisation campaigning against the use of face coverings by children in schools
- Challenges brought against local authorities regarding decisions affecting children and their educational/care needs
- Challenges to government consultations
Talk to Us
If you need advice about challenging a decision of a local council or government body, or any other public body, and would like to know more about how we can help you achieve your aim, get in touch with the expert solicitors at JMW. Our professional and proactive approach will ensure you're properly equipped to get the decision overturned.