Judicial review of magistrates' court and Crown Court decisions
Judicial review of magistrates' court and Crown Court decisions

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Judicial review of magistrates' court and Crown Court decisions
  • Administrative court review of criminal proceedings
  • Judicial review of a decision of the magistrates' court
  • Judicial review claims in criminal proceedings based on mistake of fact
  • Judicial review of decisions in the Crown Court
  • Non-reviewable matters relating to trial on indictment
  • Reviewable matters not relating to trial on indictment
  • Procedure for judicial review
  • Orders made following judicial review
  • Civil costs in criminal matters
  • more

Administrative court review of criminal proceedings

Judicial review is a process by which the courts exercise a supervisory jurisdiction over the exercise of public functions by public bodies. Proceedings normally take place in the Administrative Court, which is part of the Queen’s Bench Division (QBD) of the High Court. For more information, see: Judicial review in criminal proceedings—overview.

Judicial review of a decision of the magistrates' court

An application to judicially review a decision of the magistrate may be made to the Administrative Court in the QBD of the High Court.

An application for review can be made of a decision to prosecute or not to prosecute, among other decisions, see Practice Note: Judicial review of prosecution decisions.

The most common grounds for review are:

  1. an error of law disclosed by the court records, for example where a decision making process has been made on the wrong legal basis

  2. the court has acted in excess of jurisdiction

  3. there has been a breach of natural justice, for example where there have been procedural irregularities or where there has been a suspicion of bias

  4. the decision of the magistrates' court in Wednesbury is unreasonable

When procedural irregularity or unfairness is in issue, the key to any successful challenge will be that the complaint is one which does go to vitiate the proceedings in the court below. Immaterial and minor deviations