Judicial Review Grounds – An Overview

What is Judicial Review?

Judicial review is a procedure by which a person can seek to challenge a decision, act or failure to act of a public body. This could be a government department or local authority, or another body exercising a public law function such as an NHS Trust.

If the court decides that the decision-making body has acted unlawfully it may provide a remedy such as:

  • Quashing the decision and requiring the body to re-take the decision;
  • Requiring the body to take some other step or to NOT take certain action;
  • Making a declaration; and/or
  • awarding damages.

Often, you will only be able to apply for judicial review once you have exhausted the public bodies' complaints process.

Different Grounds for Judicial Review

The court will examine the facts of the case to see whether one or more of the following grounds of review applies:

  • Illegality
  • Irrationality
  • Procedural impropriety/unfairness


1. Illegality

A decision of a public body may be illegal if the decision maker:

  • acts outside or beyond its powers, also known as 'ultra vires'
  • misdirects itself in law - for example the decision maker does not understand and apply the law correctly
  • exercises a power wrongly or for an improper purpose - a decision must be reached on the basis of the facts of the matter in question


2. Irrationality

A decision may be irrational if;

  • it is so unreasonable that no reasonable decision maker could have come to the same decision, also known as 'Wednesbury unreasonableness' (although a less strict test applies if human rights are at stake)
  • the decision-maker takes into account irrelevant matters or fails to consider relevant matters
  • if the decision maker acts in bad faith or dishonestly


3. Unfairness/Procedural impropriety

A decision may be unfair if the body:

  • Does not properly observe and comply with its procedural duties- a decision maker must always act fairly
  • Fails to consult or give reasons for its decision
  • Shows bias


Solicitors for Judicial Review

At Saunders Law, we are dedicated to protecting civil liberties and addressing the right balance of power between the state and individuals. We can assess the facts of your case to see whether you may be able to challenge the public body by way of judicial review.

Judicial review actions are subject to strict time limits and must be filed with three months of the decision/act being challenged, so contact our team for a free no obligation consultation without delay.

Call us on 0207 632 4300 or make an enquiry online.



    How can we help?

    Please fill in the form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can

    We have partnered with Law Share from JMW Solicitors LLP to refer instructions and clients to them, when we are unable to act. By answering yes to this question, you agree that we may pass your details on to Law Share in such circumstances. You are under no obligation to instruct JMW Solicitors LLP after being referred. We may receive a payment from JMW Solicitors LLP further to this referral.