What is Judicial Review? Everything You Need to Know about it

A judicial review allows a judge to go over the lawfulness of some action or decision that is taken by some public body such as the Home Office. The judge doesn’t review whether the conclusions reached were correct or not. Instead, they review whether the method of reaching those conclusions was done in the right way—fair, rational, and legal.

If the judge concludes that a certain decision made by the public body is procedurally incorrect, irrational, or illegal, the decision can be overturned and deemed unlawful. They will then issue an order to remake that decision. It’s important to remember that the same decision might be reached after addressing the illegality of the situation.

What are the grounds for a judicial review?

Judicial review is a rather complex part of the law, even for learned professionals. An action or decision made by some public body can get overturned if it’s:

Illegal

A public body that doesn’t have the legal power to make certain decisions might reach its conclusion in an illegal manner. This might happen if decision-makers go beyond the levels of discretion allowed to them by lawmakers.

Procedurally unfair

Any circumstances that led to a certain improper or unfair decision might result in a procedurally unfair decision. A decision-maker who isn’t impartial or independent might fail to consider proper information before reaching a conclusion.

Irrational

Any decision that is extremely unreasonable can result in a judicial review. A rational or reasonable person would not have made a similar decision under similar circumstances.

Decisions and actions can also be overturned if they’re incompatible with the person’s human rights, according to the Human Rights Act 1998.

Why bring a claim for judicial review?

Public bodies in the UK often take action or make decisions impacting the lives of people living within the country. The Home Office can make decisions regarding immigration applications, while a Local Authority can decide if it wants to provide support—these decisions can change people’s lives for better or worse.

If an individual doesn’t agree with the public body’s action or decision, they can bring a judicial review claim to challenge it. Individuals often have the right to make an appeal against decisions taken by public bodies, and this can help them change the conclusion that was reached. It’s important to make an appeal before applying for judicial review.

In cases where there is no right to appeal a decision, or the appeal hasn’t been successful, a judicial review might help you challenge the decision based on the grounds mentioned above. If a judge decides that the decision was procedurally incorrect, irrational, or illegal, it will be deemed to be unlawful, and the decision will have to be remade.

Possible remedies

If a judicial review claim is successful, the judge will likely make a ‘quashing order’ to overturn the public body’s decision. Judges can also make other orders called remedies:

  • Quashing order: undoes or overturns an action or decision under review to render it void
  • Mandatory order: compels the public body to remake their decision within some specific timeline
  • Prohibiting order: prohibits the public body from taking actions or making decisions that haven’t occurred yet.
  • Damages: orders the public body to pay some amount in damages
  • Declaration: states the law and where it’s disputed

How does the judicial review process work?

The process for a judicial review claim is extremely long and complex. Applicants need to engage in a ‘pre-action protocol’ where the applicant sends a Letter before Claim to the public body to set the grounds for their challenge.

If there is no agreement to be reached, a formal form is filed with supporting evidence, and the public body will outline a defence for their decision. Cases rarely reach a full judicial review hearing because of the risks involved.

Get in touch with professional immigration lawyers in the UK

Filing for a judicial review and going through all the different processes that come with it can be overwhelming for the average person. Experienced immigration solicitors at Wembley Solicitors can support you through every step while providing you with a clear and detailed explanation so that you won’t feel confused or worried.

Whether you need help with personal injury claims, immigration appeal, or a UK marriage visa, they’ve got you covered.

You can call them at 020 3417 3700 or email them at info@wembleysolicitors.com to find out more details. Fill out this enquiry form to get expert advice today!

About the author

Lim P. has more than a decade of experience in the immigration department in the UK and has come across many judicial review cases in his career. He often works together with lawyers from Wembley Solicitors and aims to provide awareness regarding the process of a judicial review.

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