Judicial review (JR) is the procedure by which a party may challenge decisions made by central government departments, local authorities or other “emanations of the state”. The law demands that where a public body makes a decision, that decision must be legal, rational, procedurally fair and compliant with legitimate expectations. Such decisions must also be proportionate and compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights, as scheduled to The Human Rights Act 1998.
At Perrin Myddelton, our clients trust us to guide them in this complex area. We work hard with our local government clients to ensure that policies and procedures are in place to produce robust decisions which, as far as possible, are protected from successful legal challenge. Where litigation cannot be avoided we have the expertise to vigorously resist claims and/or seek pragmatic resolutions where appropriate.
For potential claimants, JR claims involve detailed analysis of whether the claimant has a sufficient interest to bring the claim, whether the decision is judicially reviewable at all (the line between public and private law decisions can sometimes be blurred) and whether the grounds are sufficiently strong to justify a claim. These decisions must also be made swiftly, since time limits for issuing judicial review claims are generally three months from the date of the decision in question. Time limits for the similar “statutory appeals” procedure (for example to challenge certain planning decisions) can be as short as six weeks. As with any litigation, the costs and risks of any action must be kept under constant review. Our advice covers all of these matters in a straight-forward and jargon-free way.