Kay Stewart reviews the Judicial Review process

When a public body makes a decision, the majority of people assume that their decision is definitive and the end all of the process. This is where judicial review becomes useful as it allows the applicant to challenge the way in which the public body reached their ruling.

Engaging in judicial review is essentially participating in court proceedings to request a judge review the lawfulness of the verdict of the public body. Judicial review is often utilised by immigration lawyers whereby the Home Office has refused an application on an incorrect or unequitable basis. It is important to note that judicial review is not a process to overturn the decision itself as then it would liken itself to an appeal process.

A successful judicial review will be based on one or more of the following reasons: irrationality, illegality or procedural unfairness. For example, if a public body failed to engage in every step of the applicable process prior to making a decision, a judge may review the matter and decide the public body were unfair when making their decision. Whereby a decision was made outside of the legal powers of the public body, a judge may rule the decision was made illegally. Furthermore, if a decision was made that was so unreasonable that no reasonable person could have made it, then judicial review may be the appropriate pathway.

The confusion often arises whereby applicants deem judicial review as the scapegoat to overturning unfavourable decisions and whilst a successful judicial review may do so, it is not its purpose. The purpose is for a judge to review how the decision was reached and that it was done so in a lawful manner. This is why immigration lawyers often use the judicial review process whereby visa applications have been denied. This is because many immigration applications are based on the Human Rights Act 1998 and therefore are subject to a balancing act between the Articles. It has been known that the courts tend to widen the scope of Article 8 rights whereas the Home Office have proven to not always take the same approach. A judge may review the Home Office’s decision and conclude that they did not appropriately consider the applicant’s Article 8 rights when making their decision which would therefore make the way their decision was reached unlawful.

For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email admin@audleychaucer.com or visit our Linkedin page.

Larissa Bourgi

This information was correct as at April 2022

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