When Can I Apply For Judicial Review?

Judicial Review is a common law remedy. The High Court is entitled to entertain challenges to the decisions of Government and other public bodies. The Supreme Court Act 1981 did not create the remedy, but merely regulated it. Public Law in England and Wales, however, cannot be viewed in isolation, without reference to European Community Law and European Human Rights Law.

  • In order to bring a Claim, the first question to ask is whether you (the Claimant) have sufficient standing to proceed. Pursuant to Section 31(3) of the Senior Courts Act 1981, the Court can only grant permission for a Judicial Review if the Claimant has a “sufficient interest” in the matter to which the Application relates.
  • The second pre-requisite, in order to bring an Application, is that all avenues of Appeal or alternative remedies have been exhausted. Judicial Review is a remedy "of last resort" and can therefore be declined on the basis that an alternative remedy may be available
  • The third ingredient is that the alleged action or failure to act of which you complain must be that of either a public body or another body exercising a public function. To help with this definition, the Court will examine the functions it performs and whether those functions have public law consequences.

There are then a number of other relevant questions:

  1. Is this the right time to challenge the decision?
  2. Is there truly a reviewable act or omission of the Public Body?
  3. What will Judicial Review achieve?
  4. Can the outcome be achieved by some other route?

So in essence, in order to apply for Judicial Review, consider:

  • Is this a public body, or a body carrying out a public function?
  • Do you have an “interest” in the matter?
  • Have you exhausted all other remedies?

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