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Protecting Your Rights

Judicial Review Solicitors

Public bodies are trusted to make a wide range of decisions that can have serious impacts on our lives and they must act within the law. We can help if you have been affected by a public body abusing its power or acting unlawfully.

Our specialist judicial review solicitors regularly act for individuals, companies, charities and community interest who seek to challenge and overturn a decision where the public authority has failed to comply with its legal obligations.

We regularly act in judicial review cases in areas such as:

The judicial review process is long and complicated. It is important to organise legal representation as soon as possible to give your claim the best chance within the tight time constraints set by the court.

Our Public Law & Human Rights team are recognised as leaders in the field of judicial review. Our cases have pushed the boundaries of the legal system, resulting in changes to the law and providing better protection for citizens across the country.

If you have been affected by an unlawful public body decision, we may be able to help you challenge its decision. Contact our team online or call us on 0800 028 1943 to find out more.



Leading lawyers in the field of judicial review
Experience with complex, high profile Supreme Court cases
Legal aid and No Win No Fee agreements available in some cases
Offices around the UK

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Judicial Review - More Information
    • Whose Decisions Can I Challenge At Judicial Review?
    • Judicial review is available to challenge decisions made by public bodies that fall outside of their legally defined powers or which do not comply with the established principles of lawful decision making. We can help you challenge decisions made by:

      • Government departments
      • The NHS and local health authorities
      • Magistrates, coroners and county courts
      • Local councils (including social services departments)
      • Prisons and police forces
      • Schools and school governing bodies
      • Regulatory and supervisory bodies
      • Planning authorities

      You can't simply challenge a decision because you disagree with it - it must be shown that a public body made the decision unlawfully. We understand that proving that a public body has broken the law can be a daunting prospect but our expert judicial review lawyers will help you put together the strongest case for your claim. We have a long history of success at judicial review, such as when we helped the families of two severely disabled children challenge cuts to short breaks services.

      Call us on 0800 028 1943 to find out more about how we can help.


    • What Counts As An Unlawful Decision?
    • Public bodies can only do what they are empowered to do by law. The law sets the limits of what each body can do and also sets out duties that they must comply with when taking action or making decisions.

      A decision is unlawful and can be challenged at judicial review if it falls outside a body’s legal limits or fails to abide by its duties. Decisions can be challenged if:

      • The public body does not have the power to make a certain decision
      • The public body uses a power incorrectly or misinterprets the law involved with a decision
      • The decision-making process was unfair or the decision was irrational
      • The decision breaches European law, the Human Rights Act or equality legislation

      If you have been affected by a public body decision that seems unfair, contact us to find out if it is suitable for a judicial review claim.

    • Are There Any Time Limits For Appealing To Judicial Review?
    • Claims for judicial review require permission from the court before going ahead. Claims must be made within certain time limits in order to get this permission.

      Most cases must be made within three months of the challenged decision being made. Planning cases must be made within the stricter time limit of six weeks from the date of the decision.

      However, there is an extra requirement that claims must also be ‘prompt’. The court can throw cases out even if they are within the correct time limit if it views them as having been unnecessarily delayed.

      It is important to start proceedings as early as possible to meet this promptness requirement but also to ensure that we can provide the best case possible within the time constraints. Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can help.

    • What Costs Are Involved? Is There Any Funding Available?
    • There are a variety of funding options for judicial review cases:

      • Legal Aid is available for people claiming means-tested benefits whose case has a reasonable chance of success. Check if you quality for legal aid.
      • No Win No Fee agreements are available for some cases
      • Protective Costs Orders (PCOs) protect you from having to pay the defendant’s costs if you are unsuccessful. These are available when the court judges it to be in the public interest for a decision to be challenged at judicial review. Without a PCO, or Legal Aid costs protection, if your claim is unsuccessful, you will be liable for defendant’s costs in full, as well as your own. This can be upwards of £30,000 and significantly more in complex cases. However, a PCO can help limit this exposure.

      Before going ahead with a judicial review claim, we will also explore all possible alternative remedies that may be able to minimise costs, such as mediation, Ombudsman appeals, and complaints procedures.

      We advise all our clients about potential costs and funding opportunities up front so if you’re worried about the cost, please contact us to discuss your options.

    • Meet The Team
    • The Public Law & Human Rights team at Irwin Mitchell has a vast array of experience protecting your rights. Our solicitors have taken a number of cases all the way to the Supreme Court - the highest court in the land.

      We have judicial review lawyers working across the country so wherever you are in the UK, we’ll have experienced experts on hand to help. We understand that time is of the essence with judicial review cases and work tirelessly to ensure the very best resolution for each individual situation as quickly as possible.

      Meet our Judicial Review lawyers

I feel like I've taken on the world and beaten it, not just for me but for everyone else."

Mrs R, Client
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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Judicial Review Process?

Judicial review can be quite a complicated and lengthy process that takes several months in total even though the final hearing can be over in a matter of hours:

  1. First you must write a Pre-Action Protocol (PAP) letter to the public body you want to challenge, setting out your claim and what you want as a resolution. A response is normally expected within two weeks.
  2. If the public body is unwilling to change its decision, you can apply for permission to make a judicial review claim. At this point the court will decide whether or not you have an arguable case to make based on evidence provided by both sides. This step does not apply in statutory appeal cases.
  3. If permission is denied, you can request an oral hearing to reconsider your application. If permission is denied again, you can appeal to the Court of Appeal for the decision to be reconsidered again.
  4. If permission is granted at either of these stages, the case then moves to the substantive hearing.
  5. Both parties submit more detailed documents supporting their positions.
  6. A few weeks before the date of the hearing both parties submit skeleton arguments summarising their cases
  7. The hearing itself takes place and the judge considers the evidence and arguments provided by the claimant and the public body.
  8. The judge submits a written decision detailing his or her fully reasoned decision and any orders resulting from it.
  9. Either the claimant or the public body can appeal the decision at the Court of Appeal within 14 days.
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What Outcome Can I Expect From A Judicial Review Claim?

There are four many remedies that the Court can order if a judicial review claim is successful:

  • Quashing order: overturns the decision, obliging the public body to take the decision again
  • Prohibitory order: prohibits the public body from make the unlawful decision again in the future
  • Mandatory order: orders the public body to do something it had a duty to do
  • Declaration: declares how a particular law should be interpreted

There are also rare cases – such as those involving human rights violations – in which the Court awards compensation to the claimant.

It is important to note that the judge has the discretion to award no remedy at all if they rule that the claimant has been unreasonable or if their application was not prompt enough. To find out how we can help ensure your judicial review claim gets the outcome you want, call us on 0800 028 1943 and speak to one of our experts.


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Who Can Make a Judicial Review Claim?

Anyone can make a judicial review claim, including:

  • Individuals
  • Businesses
  • Campaign groups
  • Charities
  • NGOs

It doesn’t matter how many have been affected by the decision or how many might benefit from it being overturned. You can make a claim even if you are the only person affected.

You or your organisation can also claim on behalf of someone else even if you haven’t been affected yourself. This is particularly relevant for decisions affecting children and adults without the mental capacity to make a claim themselves.

It is important for organisations making judicial review claims to be able to present at least one person that has a genuine interest in the case. You can’t challenge a decision just because it’s unlawful – you have to show that it has actually affected someone.

You should only make a judicial review claim as a last resort. Claimants who have failed to explore alternatives such as mediation, complaints procedures or appeals are likely to have their claims dismissed.

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