Judicial reviews form the backbone of instructions for the public and administrative law group at St John's Chambers."
Judicial Review is the principal method by which decisions of governmental bodies (e.g. Government Ministers, local councils, other statutory bodies such as the Environment Agency) are challenged and held to account by being brought before the courts. It takes place in the Administrative Court, a branch of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.
It is important to note that it is not a method of appeal as such, but rather a way in which the legality of the decision is investigated by the court, perhaps because the decision is contrary to the governing statute or other governing provision, or there is some other illegality (perhaps a breach of the Human Rights Act or, for the moment, a breach of the EU Treaty), or there has been an abuse of power by failing to take into account all material considerations in coming to a decision. A Judicial Review challenge would also cover procedural irregularities, where for example a decision has been arrived at unfairly through what is still sometimes called a breach of the rules of natural justice.
The courts adopt a two-stage process for dealing with Judicial Review challenges. First, the court assesses whether the claimant has an arguable case and, if so, the challenge then proceeds to a substantive hearing when all aspects of the challenge are inquired into.
Our barristers who deal with this area of law are capable of advising at all stages and as to whether grounds for a successful challenge exist, they will then draft the necessary claim and any supporting documents, presenting the case at court if it goes to a full hearing.
It is important to note that the time for challenging administrative/governmental decisions by way of Judicial Review is time-limited. This is normally three months from when the complaint arose, although there is a limited power of extension beyond that period.
Some members of the team are also available to act, where appropriate, for members of the public, as well as commercial and non-commercial organisations, under the Public Access scheme.
All our team members can accept instructions direct from industry professionals under the Licensed Access scheme. This allows members of licensed organisations, such as the RICS, to instruct us without having to go through a solicitor.
The team delivers workshops and seminars in Chambers and regional centres. We also provide training on behalf of local Law Societies and in conjunction with firms of solicitors and also councils. We can also provide tailored in-house training for particular firms. If you would like any further information please contact Elizabeth Champion 0117 923 4712 or email: [email protected].