Judicial Review

What is Judicial Review?

Judicial Review is a type of court proceeding where a Judge reviews the legality of a decision or action, or failure to act, by a public body, which will include a government department and the board of governors of a school (but not an Independent School).

The Judge looks at the way a decision was made by the public body to ascertain whether the law was correctly applied and the right procedures followed. It is not a process to have the decision or result re-heard. There are strict time limits in place whereby a Judicial Review application will need to be lodged with the court within 3 months of the wrong doing or inaction or sooner in certain cases.

In order to have a prospect of success with Judicial Review, you would need to demonstrate that either:

  • the public body concerned is under a legal duty to act or make a decision in a certain way but is refusing to do so: or,
  • a decision has been taken by a public body that is beyond its powers in law.

A court has the power upon hearing a Judicial Review, to make the following orders:

  • Quashing Order to overturn a decision;
  • An injunction to halt a public body taking a unlawful action until a final decision has been made;
  • A Prohibition Order to stop a public body making an unlawful decision;

A Declaration where the court states what the law is and what a public body should therefore do;

A Mandatory order where a public body is told it has to do something that the law requires it to do.

The Court cannot compel the public body to carry out any of the above orders. These are discretionary only. In any event, all the court’s decision does is require the public body to follow a fair procedure. They may well go on and do just that but make the same decision again that you were unhappy with.

The court will not normally award damages unless there has been a clear breach of human rights.

Judicial Review is a process that is highly complex, time consuming in many cases and extremely costly where privately funded. This is particularly so if you lose your case, as the usual rule is that you pay the other side’s legal costs which can amount to tens of thousands of pounds.

We would advise anybody considering Judicial Review, to contact us without delay, given the strict time limitations in application.

We offer a free, no obligation initial telephone or e mail consultation where the suitability of your case for Judicial Review can be discussed with one of our expert Solicitors. Not only do we have a team of education lawyers at our firm who are well versed in representing clients in complex court proceedings.

Please contact Clare Roberts on 0115 9599550 to discuss any issue arising out of school attendance or use the form below.

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