Judicial review—what it is and when it can be used
Produced in partnership with Mathew Purchase of Matrix Chambers
Judicial review—what it is and when it can be used

The following Public Law guidance note Produced in partnership with Mathew Purchase of Matrix Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Judicial review—what it is and when it can be used
  • What is Judicial Review?
  • Preliminary and pre-action considerations
  • Who and what can be challenged?
  • Was the act or omission complained of ‘public in nature’?
  • Who can bring a claim?
  • When to use judicial review rather than other possible remedies—judicial review v private law proceedings
  • Remedy of last resort—is there a suitable alternative remedy?
  • On what grounds may a claim be brought?
  • Which remedies may be awarded?

What is Judicial Review?

Judicial review or JR is a process by which the courts exercise a supervisory jurisdiction over the exercise of public functions by public bodies.

CPR 54.1 states that:

a 'claim for judicial review' means a claim to review the lawfulness of–

  1. an enactment or

  2. a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function.’

Proceedings normally take place in the Administrative Court, which is part of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

The key rules governing the judicial review process are set out in section 31 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (SCA 1981) and CPR 54, which modifies CPR 8. However, other provisions of the CPR, such as those concerning costs, may also be applicable. SCA 1981, s 31 was amended by Part 4 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 (CJCA 2015). Most of these amendments are now in force, with the remainder (CJCA 2015, ss 85–86) set to come into force on a date to be appointed. Together with consequential amendments to the CPR, they introduce restrictions on the court’s powers to grant permission to make a claim for judicial review, to grant relief and to make costs orders.

Judicial review sits alongside statutory appeals (under CPR 52.25), many of which are now heard in the First-Tier Tribunal,