When public authorities and regulatory bodies fail to follow correct procedures in decisions that affect your business, you can be left feeling understandably frustrated and angry.
Fortunately, judicial reviews are court proceedings that exist to address incidences such as these; your business and commercial interests are protected in situations where legal duties have been breached.
Recent statistics show the numbers of judicial review applications have increased, reaching more than 12,000 in 2012. If you wish to make an application, you can contact First4lawyers for specialist advice and guidance from our team of commercial litigation solicitors.
What is judicial review?
If a public body or regulatory authority makes a decision that affects your business or commercial interests, and it can be proven that legal duties were not fulfilled in the process, you can bring court proceedings for judicial review to challenge the verdict.
The purpose of judicial review is not to overturn the decision that has been made by a public body or regulatory authority, but to review the process that led to the body or authority arriving at that decision and ascertaining whether there were any flaws in the process.
If a judicial review finds that a public body made a flawed decision based on an unlawful process, then the decision can be revoked.
What type of decisions can be challenged by judicial reviews?
Commercial judicial review proceedings can be brought about in a wide variety of circumstances, but common cases in recent years have involved challenges against decisions, directives, or legislation from:
- The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- The Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA)
- HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- The European Union
- Regulatory authorities
- Industry trade associations
In cases where a public body has procured a commercial contract, and there is suspicion the body has not followed statutory processes, a challenge may be brought by judicial review.
What are the grounds for judicial review?
For the court to consider a challenge by judicial review, there must be evidence that the body or authority making the decision has behaved in a manner that is irrational, illegal, improper, or in breach of legitimate expectation.
Proving that decisions are illegal or procedurally improper is more straightforward, given that you can simply present the facts of the matter alongside the law or statutory procedures that govern that area.
It can be more difficult to prove that a decision maker has behaved irrationally, or that it has breached legitimate expectations. However, discussing your issue with a solicitor with a good grounding in judicial reviews, you can give yourself a good chance of building a strong case.
What are the remedies resulting from judicial reviews?
As mentioned above, the purpose of judicial review is not to overturn a decision but to scrutinise the process by which that decision was reached.
However, the remedies resulting from successful judicial reviews do include the possibility of an order to quash the original decision.
In those instances, the court will typically make a mandatory order, which requires the body under review to carry out its legal duties, and in some cases damages are awarded to parties affected by the wrongful decisions it has made.
In rare cases, the court can place a restraining order on the body under review from acting beyond its powers, but an injunction or declaration is usually considered to be sufficient.
I would like to challenge the decision of a public body – what should I do?
The first step is to establish whether or not the decision making process of that public body has been illegal, irrational, improper, or in breach of legitimate expectations.
First4lawyers can put you in touch with a solicitor with extensive experience of examining and preparing cases for judicial review, and we can help you to ascertain whether this approach is appropriate for your circumstances.
Call First4lawyers to make a no-obligation enquiry.