Judicial review is the means by which it is possible to challenge the lawfulness of decisions or actions taken by a body or authority exercising a public function.
Applications for judicial review are made to the High Court and can cover actions or decisions by a wide range of public bodies including the police (and other investigative authorities), the Crown Prosecution Service, the government, local authorities and regulatory agencies and authorities.
A decision may be unlawful for a range of reasons including where:
- The public body has acted beyond its powers
- An action or decision by a public body is irrational (so unreasonable that no reasonable body could have reached that decision)
- An action or decision has been taken following an unfair or unreasonable procedure, including where those affected have not been properly consulted or where the decision maker has failed to consider relevant factors (or has considered irrelevant factors)
- An action or decision breaches the human rights of those affected
- An action or decision is inconsistent with European Community law
- An action or decision by a public body places itself in breach of their own policies or legal duties.
The time limit for bringing a judicial review of a decision or action is extremely short and so it is essential that any claim is brought quickly. This means that anyone who believes that they have been subject to an unlawful act or decision should seek advice immediately.
Stokoe Partnership Solicitors’ team of lawyers is used to providing fast and efficient advice on possible claims (including advising on eligibility for legal aid to bring them), and in bringing claims for judicial review in the most cost-effective manner possible. Our team has particular expertise in human rights law, and is especially well-placed to act for clients who feel a decision taken by a public body has infringed on their human rights.
Represented a client arrested by the Economic Crime Unit following an extensive covert police operation. Officers attended our client’s home and business addresses in execution of a search warrant. During the search various documentation and devices were seized. We applied to judicially review the search warrants. It was subsequently accepted that the warrants were illegally obtained.
The High Court awarded damages to our client. The High Court Certified a point of General Public Importance to the Supreme Court and the case is now the leading authority on how and in what circumstances the lower courts can and should conduct “closed/secret” hearings.
Represented three defendants, post conviction, in successfully appealing their conviction for conspiracy to murder and securing their acquittals in the subsequent re-trial. At the re-trial following lengthy submissions on disclosure the Crown reviewed the case against our clients’ and offered no evidence. Unusually, at the conclusion of the case the Court recommended that the case be referred to the Attorney General to investigate the conduct of the Crown.
The Attorney General’s decision was not to recommend a full independent enquiry into the conduct of the prosecution notwithstanding changes made by the CPS to their procedures. Leave to Judicially Review the Attorney General’s decision has been granted by the High Court.
Successfully represented a client judicially reviewing the decision taken by West Hampshire Police Force to arrest following an allegation of sexual assault. Having attended the police station voluntarily a decision was made to arrest the client. We made representations regarding the unlawfulness of the decision to arrest which were refused and we judicially reviewed the decision and were successful resulting in substantial damages being paid to our client.