Q&As

On what grounds could a decision of a public authority be challenged by way of judicial review, where the authority/decision in question has failed to comply with the law? Are there any leading case law examples from the UK courts (including Northern Ireland)?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/08/2018

The following Public Law Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • On what grounds could a decision of a public authority be challenged by way of judicial review, where the authority/decision in question has failed to comply with the law? Are there any leading case law examples from the UK courts (including Northern Ireland)?
  • Scope of judicial review
  • Grounds of review
  • Human rights
  • Standing
  • Related Commentary:

On what grounds could a decision of a public authority be challenged by way of judicial review, where the authority/decision in question has failed to comply with the law? Are there any leading case law examples from the UK courts (including Northern Ireland)?

Scope of judicial review

Judicial review potentially permits challenges to a wide range of decisions, actions or failures to act in relation to the exercise of a public function. The circumstances and governing principles of judicial review are therefore numerous and complex. Whether a matter will be amenable to judicial review will depend on the subject matter and circumstances. That the defendant is a public body is not the only consideration.

Case law shows that in some instances a decision of a public body will not be amenable to judicial review, while some decisions of an apparently private body will be. Depending on the circumstances, private bodies performing quasi-governmental functions in the public interest may or may not find their decisions amenable to judicial review.

The court in R v Panel on Take-overs and Mergers, ex p Datafin plc, held the panel had to act judicially as they were performing some functions of a quasi-judicial nature. In contrast, in R v Football Association Ltd, ex parte Football League Ltd; Football Association Ltd v Football League Ltd, the court dismissing the appeal for judicial review held

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