Local authorities and councils can often make decisions that massively impact on people’s lives. However their decision is not necessarily final. With a judicial review, a judge can look at what a public body intends and rules whether or not their actions (or planned actions) are in fact legal.
What a judicial review can rule on
A good example of where a judicial review could be sought would be the provision of benefits for children. A council may be looking at budget cuts and decide to cut certain provisions. This could be in financial terms but equally could refer to the closure of a facility such as a skate park or a youth centre. Other examples can include perceived breaches of rules such as the Human Rights Act (this is often an issue when it comes to immigration or deportation cases due to the fact that a wrong decision could potentially be in breach of immigration or human rights legislation).
In this instance, a judicial review could be called in order to look into this. However it is important to note that this is not about whether or not a decision in and of itself is wrong but to be more precise whether correct procedures were followed and whether or not the welfare of children and the impact of their lives had been properly taken into account.
If you feel a decision was wrong then it would be better to take an appeal to a higher court.
Making an application
One thing to be aware of is that if a case is brought to a hearing and you are unsuccessful then you may have to pay both your own legal costs and the defendant’s as well. There are ways around this (for example conditional fee agreements where a claimant is not responsible for their costs if they lose a case or before the event insurance to cover the defendant’s costs in the event of an unfavourable verdict, those this may not always be possible).
It is not always easy to be aware of whether or not a decision made by a council governing body is unfair, unlawful, illegal or irrational. It is important to be able to look at the various factors behind those decisions and to look at whether a judicial review or an appeal to a higher court is more appropriate.
This is why it is important to use the services of an experienced legal team that can offer you advice before you apply for a judicial review. An experienced legal practitioner in this area will be able to look at whether seeking a review is appropriate and to give you a realistic idea of whether or not you will get a positive verdict.
If you would like to know more or want to discuss a situation that may require a judicial review contact us today and we will be happy to give you more information and help you decide the best course of action.