It is a reasonable question- who are the people that check that the law has been properly enforced? This is why a judicial review is so important- it allows people to look at the way in which a law has been enforced and whether the process needs to be updated.
A judicial review is not about reviewing a decision. It is about looking at the process behind how the decision was reached. If it is felt that the process was not correctly followed, then there is the possibility that a decision can be quashed.
Different bodies that can be challenged by judicial reviews can include government ministers, local authorities, or organisations such as the Environment Agency.
Grounds for review
There are different reasons why someone would seek a judicial review. If a governing body is felt to be acting outside their remit, then this can result in a decision being overturned. For example, a governing body should only take into account relevant information when reaching a verdict, rather than allowing personal prejudices or irrelevant information to affect their process.
This can also occur if it is felt that the decision was “irrational.” However, one problem with this is proving that there was an irrational approach behind a verdict can be very difficult to prove. Human rights can also be a factor, as well as any complaints regarding procedural unfairness (for example, not consulting people who were consulted in previous cases.)
Who can make a claim?
In order to make a claim for a judicial review, you have to have some form of standing in the eyes of the court or governing body involved or have some specific stake in the decision involved. One example involves environmental law- if you are a non-government organisation where environmental damage could affect your work, then it may be possible to make a claim for a judicial review, especially if it is felt that this review is in the public interest.
There are strict time limits when it comes to reviews. In planning cases, you have up to six weeks after a verdict has been reached. If the case doesn’t involve planning, then the request should not be later than three months (though the guidelines’ emphasis the need for requests in these instances to be “prompt.”)
The first step to requesting a review is the pre-action protocol letter, a formal request for the proceeding to take place. If a defendant doesn’t co-operate, then you can request the court for permission to proceed. After this, you can reach a full hearing where evidence can be presented, followed by a final judgement (appeals are usually not available from the judge, and you may need to take that to the court of appeal.)
We can help
We want to help our clients as much as possible. We can discuss whether or not you want to request a judicial review and what to expect during the process. Contact us today so we can discuss your circumstances in more detail and put you in touch with a specialist legal professional who can guide you through the judicial review and what you can expect.