4 May, 16

Judicial Review

Introduction:

A solicitor can advise you about your rights about a local authority’s duties towards you or your family members and about what options and remedies are available. One of the remedies available is judicial review proceedings.

Decisions made by public bodies are not always just, reasonable, or lawful. Decisions actions and omissions can be challenged by speaking with the public body that made the decision or by accessing the formal complaints procedure and if necessary by taking legal action through judicial review proceedings.

Procedure:

First of all we must write to the public body under a procedure called the judicial review Pre-Action Protocol and advise the public body that if no action is taken our next step will be to place the matter in the domain of the court. If the response received is not satisfactory, or if we do not receive a response, then we could issue judicial review proceedings at the Administrative Court.

To do this we send to the court a bundle of papers setting out the details of our case. One of the most important documents is a witness statement which sets out the case from the client’s point of view.

The bundle of papers that we send to the court is an application for permission for judicial review proceedings against the local authority. The papers are considered by a Judge who will make an Order deciding how the case should proceed.

Once the papers are issued at court a copy of the bundle is served on the Defendant and they have the right of reply in a form called Acknowledgement of Service which must be filed at court within 21 days of the papers being served on the public body.

If the case is urgent we can submit the bundle to court with a request for urgent consideration which means that it is considered within a short timescale, typically 5 working days.

The Judge might make a decision on the papers available in the bundle or he may order that the case be heard orally. This means that the Judge wishes to hear arguments put forward by barristers for both sides of the case. If there is to be an oral hearing the court will advise that this is the case.

If through negotiation an agreement is reached with the public body before the court makes an Order we can draft a Consent Order and this is a document which sets out the terms of the settlement and it is signed by both parties. The Consent Order is then sent to the court to be sealed and made officially binding resulting in the end of the case. All such negotiations are discussed with clients before any agreement is reached.

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