PLP_Short_Guide_3_1305

Judicial review can be very complicated the court

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Judicial review can be very complicated, the court procedures are not designed to be used by people who are not lawyers, and it is expensive. For those reasons, you are strongly advised to get help from a specialist lawyer if you think you have a claim. If you are on income related benefits, or you are on a low income, you may be able to get free advice from a solicitor. What follows is designed to make the advice you get easier to understand, not to replace it. 2 Whose decisions can be challenged by judicial review? Decisions made by public bodies in a public law capacity may be challenged by judicial review. Examples of the public bodies whose decisions can be challenged are: Government ministries and departments, local authorities, health authorities, chief constables, prison governors, some tribunals (but not if you could appeal to a higher tribunal or court), magistrates, coroners and county courts, boards of school governors (but not independent schools). If a public body is not exercising a public function, for instance where it is acting as an employer, or in a contractual relationship with a supplier, or if it acts negligently, its actions are governed by private, not public law. Increasingly public functions are contracted out to private companies. If a private company is deemed to be exercising a public function, its acts and omissions are governed by public law. For example a private company that runs a prison is deemed to be exercising a public function and so its actions in the running of the prison are governed by public law. 3 Who can bring a judicial review? You have to have an interest in the decision you are challenging to bring a judicial review, or what is called “standing”. That means you have to have sufficient connection to the subject matter of the claim. If the remedies the court can offer (see section 8) might make a practical difference to you, then the test is likely to be met. 4 Alternatives to judicial review If there are other effective ways of challenging decisions or delays, you are usually expected to use those. The following may be adequate alternatives; A statutory right of appeal against a disputed decision, such as to a social security appeal tribunal against a decision about your entitlement to benefit. There is usually a strict time limit for appeal so you need to make sure you appeal in time. You can only appeal
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Short Guide 03 | An Introduction to Judicial Review | 5 Public Law Project | Short Guide Series 5 Time limits and advice A judicial review case must be brought before the court quickly and in any event within three months of the decision or action being challenged. These time limits mean applications should be made as soon as possible once it is clear that the case is suitable for judicial review.
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