Judicial review of prosecution decisions
Judicial review of prosecution decisions

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

  • Judicial review of prosecution decisions
  • Availability of an alternative remedy
  • Proceedings in a criminal cause or matter
  • Challenging the decision to prosecute
  • Challenging the laying of informations by private prosecutors
  • Decision not to prosecute
  • Challenging a decision not to prosecute—the victim’s right to review
  • Challenging a decision not to prosecute via the supervisory jurisdiction of the Attorney General
  • Decision to caution
  • Decision to continue an investigation
  • more

Judicial review is the process by which the lawfulness of the decisions, acts or omissions of public bodies are challenged in the High Court.

Judicial review is not concerned with reviewing the merits of adecision but rather the decision-making process itself. It is adiscretionary remedy. Chief Constable of the North Wales Police v Evans [1982] 3 All ER 141

The High Court will only exercise its jurisdiction when it is proper to do so and it may decline to do so where there is an alternative remedy, see below: Availability of an alternative remedy. R (on the application of AL) v SFO, XYZ Ltd [2018] EWHC 856 (Admin) at para [55]R (on the application of Glencore Energy UK Ltd) v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2017] EWCA Civ 1716

If successful, the High Court's remedies include making aquashing order (quashing the decision), amandatory order (compelling the performance of an action) or aprohibiting order (preventing the performance of an action).Senior Courts Act 1981, s 31(1)

Although it is possible to challenge adecision to prosecute or not to prosecute, judicial review is aweapon of last resort. Sharma v Antoine [2006] UKPC 57, [2006] All ER (D) 31 (Dec)Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review—63rd update

Availability of an alternative remedy

As the judgment of the High Court in R (on the application of AL) v SFO, XYZ Ltd, (applying the reasoning of the Court of Appeal in R (on the application of Glencore Energy UK Ltd) v Revenue and Customs Commissioners) makes clear, the factors which the court will take into account in deciding whether to entertain a