Is judicial review the right option for you?

When public authorities and regulatory bodies fail to follow correct procedures in decisions that affect your business, you can be left feeling understandably frustrated and angry.

Judicial review is an area where it's important to get good legal advice - 18% of judicial review claims failed in the first half of 2017. If you wish to make an application, please contact First4Lawyers for specialist advice and guidance from our team of commercial litigation solicitors.

What is judicial review?

Judicial review is a type of court proceeding where the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body is examined. 

If a public body or regulatory authority makes a decision that affects your business or commercial interests, and it can be proven that legal duties were not fulfilled in the process, you can bring court proceedings for judicial review to challenge the verdict.

The purpose of judicial review is not to overturn the decision that has been made by a public body or regulatory authority, but to review the process that led to the body or authority arriving at that decision and ascertaining whether there were any flaws in the process.

If a judicial review finds that a public body made a flawed decision based on an unlawful process, then the decision can be revoked.


What type of decisions can be challenged by judicial reviews?

Commercial judicial review proceedings can be brought about in a wide variety of circumstances, but common cases in recent years have involved challenges against decisions, directives or legislation from:

  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  • The Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA)
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • The European Union
  • Regulatory authorities
  • Industry trade associations

In cases where a public body has procured a commercial contract, and there is suspicion the body has not followed statutory processes, a challenge may be brought by judicial review.

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What are the grounds for judicial review?

A claim for judicial review can only be made once permission for judicial review is obtained from the High Court.

For the court to consider a challenge by judicial review, there must be evidence that the body or authority making the decision has behaved in a manner that is:

  • Irrational  (unreasonable)
  • Illegal
  • Procedurally improper
  • In breach of legitimate expectation.

Proving that decisions are illegal or procedurally improper is more straightforward, given that you can simply present the facts of the matter alongside the law or statutory procedures that govern that area.

It can be more difficult to prove that a decision maker has behaved irrationally, or that it has breached legitimate expectations.

However, discussing your issue with a solicitor with a good grounding in judicial reviews, you can give you a better chance of building a strong case.

What are the remedies resulting from judicial reviews?

As mentioned above, the purpose of judicial review is not to overturn a decision but to scrutinise the process by which that decision was reached.

When you start judicial review proceedings, you ask the court to grant a remedy - this is the order the court makes if you win the case.

Remedy from successful judicial reviews include the possibility of an order to quash (set aside) the original decision.

In this instance, the court will typically make a mandatory order, which requires the body under review to carry out its legal duties, and in some cases damages are awarded to parties affected by the wrongful decisions it has made.

In rare cases, the court can place a restraining order on the body under review from acting beyond its powers, but an injunction or declaration is usually considered to be sufficient.

I would like to challenge the decision of a public body – what should I do?

The first step is to establish whether or not the decision-making process fell foul of any other criteria listed above.  From that point on, the services of a solicitor will be necessary.

We can provide specialist solicitors with extensive experience of examining and preparing cases for judicial review.  They will help you ascertain whether judicial review is the appropriate option for you.

Get in touch with our legal advisors to make a free, no-obligation enquiry.

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