A judicial review is a form of a court proceeding, in which the judge reviews the lawfulness or otherwise of a decision or action, or a failure to act, by a public body exercising a public function.

In the case of Family Law matters, this often would take the form of challenging decisions made by Local Authorities and in particular Children’s Services’ departments of Local Authorities.

Judicial review is, however, only available where there are no other effective means of challenge.

What is a scenario in which a judicial review would be appropriate?

For example, if you were unhappy with a decision made by a Local Authority and, having exhausted all internal and other mechanisms available to challenge a decision made, a Judicial review against the decision could then – and only then – be considered. All other challenges would have to have been made first before any judicial review proceedings could be commenced.

Judicial review is concerned with whether the law has been correctly applied and the right procedures have been followed. Ultimately, it is focused around the supervision of administrative decision making.

In order to succeed the claimant will need to show that either:

  • A public body is under a legal duty to act or make a decision in a certain way and is unlawfully refusing or failing to do so;

or

  • A decision or action has been taken by a public body that is beyond the powers given by law.

It can be a fast, effective and powerful way to convince a public body to reconsider a decision or force them to take the action that they should be taking. The court’s decision must be followed, and just one judicial review case can make a difference to many other people.

Judicial review is a complex area of law. If you believe that a decision has been made against you by a Local Authority which you feel is capable of being challenged then we at Prism Family Law may be able to help. We offer free initial 30 minute appointments with clients so that consideration can be given as to whether a case is worth pursuing or not. Should you wish to meet with us please telephone 0191 269 6871 to make an appointment, or alternatively contact us via email at legal@prismfamilylaw.co.uk

With the kind permission of the Public Law Project, more information can be found via this Short Guide to Judicial Review: An Introduction to Judicial Review – PDF.