This is an introduction to judicial review.  Where a public body makes a decision, or behaves acts unlawfully, there are a number of ways that those affected can challenge that behaviour or decision.  These include:

  • Complaining using public bodies’ complaints procedures or Ombudsmen
  • Exercising rights of appeal to a tribunal (if such rights exist in relation to the particular decision to be challenged, such as in welfare benefits cases)
  • Asking a public body to review its decision
  • Through a process called judicial review

Judicial review is a particularly important aspect of the constitutional settlement in the UK.   It is a process, a court case, where a judge or judges decide whether a public body has behaved lawfully.  It offers a route to justice for those adversely affected by public body decision making and it performs an essential tasks in that it allows the courts and judiciary oversight of  government decision making, be that central or local government, or parts of the state that implement government policy, including the NHS or police, as examples.

This guide covers:

  • What is judicial review?
  • Who can bring a claim for judicial review?
  • What can be challenged?
  • Important points to consider and alternatives to judicial review
  • The process of judicial review, including procedure for applying, what the courts can do, time limits, and appropriate grounds
  • Paying for judicial review
  • Why is judicial review important?

An introduction to judicial review.