Whether you are an individual, senior professional, company, business group, charity or pressure group, a judicial review can be a powerful way of insisting that a public body changes its course or, at the very least, reviews and explains its actions.
Known for our strength in judicial review litigation and our incisive and pragmatic advice, in many leading cases, and listed in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2015, for acting on behalf of the Financial Conduct Authority, in a ground breaking challenge by Rosneft to sanctions imposed against Russia.
How our judicial review solicitors can help
As one of the few dedicated public law teams in the country, we know the ins and outs of bringing or defending a claim. We work with you from the beginning to quickly identify the core issues and gain an insight into your key concerns, allowing us to deliver clear, focussed and commercially driven advice and management of your case.
The team is led by Adam Chapman, formerly head of one of the judicial review litigation teams at the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, and who continues to be consistently recognised as a leader in this field.
Making a judicial review claim
We understand that decisions made by government and public bodies can have far reaching and serious commercial, financial, organisational or personal consequences. It is vital they are correctly made.
When things go wrong, we can help you consider a judicial review claim or statutory challenge to ensure that the decisions that matter most to you are fair, lawful and rational, and do not infringe on EU treaty or human rights.
Defending a judicial review claim
RECENT JUDICIAL REVIEW CASES
- Acting for an individual in successfully challenging a search warrant and preventing the police from applying to the Crown Court to retain material that had been seized when the warrant was executed
- Acting for Chief Constable David Crompton in overturning a decision of a Police and Crime Commissioner requiring him to resign
- Acting for a psychotherapist in stopping a regulatory body from taking disciplinary proceedings against her.
- Acting for the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association and the Criminal Law Solicitors Association in two separate challenges to the Lord Chancellor’s decision to introduce a “two tier” system of contracts for criminal legal aid defence solicitors
- Acting for the Financial Conduct Authority in defending a challenge made by Rosneft arising out of the EU sanctions on the Russian Federation
- Acting for a group of companies challenging third party notices issued by HMRC following a mutual legal assistance request
- Acting for the General Dental Council in defending a challenge to an increase in annual registration fees for dentists
FREQUENTLY ASKED JUDICIAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
What is judicial review?
Who are the parties to judicial review?
Judicial review will always involve at least one claimant and one defendant public body. It may also involve interested parties. An interested party is any person (including a company or partnership), other than a claimant or defendant, who is directly affected by the claim.
It is also open to any other person to apply to the court for permission to give evidence or make submissions .Those granted permission to do so are known as interveners.
What is the basic judicial review procedure?
A letter before claim is usually sent by the claimant to the defendant and any interested parties. If no response is received or the parties cannot resolve the dispute, then the claimant may commence litigation.
Judicial review proceedings are divided into two stages (the ‘permission stage’ and the ‘substantive stage’).
First the claimant must apply to the court for permission to apply for judicial review. Other parties will usually file papers supporting or opposing the application. The court will then review the papers and grant permission if there is an arguable case that a ground for judicial review exists and merits further investigation.
If permission is refused, there may be scope for reconsideration at an oral hearing. If permission is granted, the substantive claim (or permitted parts of it) will proceed to the second stage of a full public hearing in the High Court.
In rare cases, the two stages may be dealt with together at a full public ‘rolled-up’ hearing.
What are the grounds for judicial review?
There are many possible grounds for judicial review. The main categories are illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety.
Illegality is essentially where a public authority acts outside the scope of its powers or duties, or fails to comply with them. For example, section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 makes it unlawful for a public authority to act incompatibly with rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Irrationality takes many forms. It can range from taking account of irrelevant considerations to acting in an outrageous or illogical manner beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision-maker.
Procedural impropriety means failing to follow the required process, and can include failures to consult, act within a reasonable time or give reasons – as well as alleging that a decision is tainted by bias.
What is the time limit for judicial review?
Judicial review proceedings are intended to quickly resolve challenges that generate uncertainty for public officials and bodies about whether they can safely proceed with administrative action.
Claimants are generally obliged to file claim forms promptly (basically as soon as they can) and, in any event, not later than 3 months after the grounds to make the claim first arose.
Failure to act promptly may seriously prejudice or defeat a claim.
How long does judicial review take?
It is difficult to predict how long proceedings will take once a claim has been issued. Most judicial reviews are resolved in the High Court within around 9 months but timescales for urgent matters can be much shorter.
The timing is generally dictated by the resources of the High Court, although it is open to either party to seek to have the claim dealt with expeditiously. Depending on the outcome, there may be an appeal.
What remedies can judicial review deliver?
Where a claimant shows that a defendant has acted unlawfully the court may decide to grant a ‘quashing order’, confirming that the challenged decision has no lawful force and no legal effect.
Other potential remedies include the court deciding to compel a public body to act in a particular way or to take no action, or the court declaring what the law is on a particular point. Damages are only occasionally available.
How is judicial review funded?
We only take on privately funded judicial review cases and are unable to represent parties funded by legal aid.
The overall cost of judicial review will depend, among other things, on the nature, size and urgency of the case, alongside the strategy adopted and factors beyond a party’s control. In general, the unsuccessful party will be ordered to pay most of the costs of the successful party.
In limited circumstances, including environmental cases, the contribution that each unsuccessful party can be ordered to pay towards a successful party’s costs may be capped at a relatively low level by the court.