Experienced in judicial review work

At Devonshires, our experienced Litigation Department is extremely well equipped to represent our clients in a judicial review situation and this is an area we are continually developing.

What is judicial review?

  • A ‘claim for judicial review’ means a claim to review the lawfulness of an enactment; or a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function.
  • Judicial review is focussed on the process followed in the exercise of a public function rather than the outcome of that process.
  • As well as the usual declaratory or injunctive relief, the Court can make mandatory, prohibitory or quashing orders, e.g. the Court can quash the decision of the party exercising the public function and order that it has to retake a decision using the lawful procedure.
  • Most judicial review claims have a limitation period of three months (there are shorter periods for some planning and public contract regulations’ claims).
  • Judicial reviews tend to be cheaper and quicker than the normal litigation process; for example, there is no formal disclosure process.

Whose decisions can be challenged by judicial review?

  • Examples: Government ministries and departments; local authorities; regulators; health authorities; chief constables; prison governors; some tribunals (but not if you could appeal to a higher tribunal or court); magistrates, coroners and county courts; and some boards of school governors.
  • Any private company which has been contracted to provide a public function.

Examples of recent work include:

  • On behalf of the Association of British Commuters we have recently issued a claim against the Department for Transport over the Southern Rail network. In an innovative move the legal costs of these proceedings are being funded by a Crowd Justice campaign. Read more on the BBC website.
  • We successfully brought a claim against the Police Service of Northern Ireland to prevent the arrest and transfer to Northern Ireland for questioning of some of the soldiers present during Bloody Sunday. Read more on the BBC website.
  • We successfully defended a judicial review by a group of unlicensed punt operators on the River Cam brought against the Conservators of the River Cam.

Judicial review in the social housing sector

As the leading firm acting for social housing providers we have been at the forefront of public law developments in the social housing sector including:

  • Acting for L&Q on the leading Court of Appeal case on the amenability of housing associations to judicial review – London & Quadrant Housing Trust v R (on the application of Weaver) EWCA Civ 587.
  • Acting for Registered Providers in public law challenges to regulatory judgments issued by the Social Housing Regulator.
  • Judicial reviews of local authorities over the removal of supporting people grants.
  • Acting for the National Housing Federation in proposed judicial review proceedings against the Treasury in relation to the reclassification of Registered Providers as public bodies by the Office of National Statistics
  • Defending judicial review applications brought by or threatened by residents against Registered Providers.

In short, Devonshires’ Litigation Department has experience across the board in acting for both claimants and defendants on a wide range of issues and acting in cases which attract national media attention. Our Litigation Department would be happy to discuss judicial review with you further:


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