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What we do

The Good Law Practice team has extensive experience in judicial review proceedings brought in the public interest by non-profit organisations, charities, and individuals. We typically act in strategic litigation that forms part of a broader campaign on an important issue

For example, we have used Judicial Review to safeguard our waterways from sewage pollution by challenging the Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan, and to exposing the loss of hundreds of millions in public funds due to HMRC’s lower tax rate treatment of private equity buyout funds.

How it works

Judicial review is the procedure by which the courts examine the decisions of public bodies (including government ministers, local authorities, NHS Trusts, schools, regulators, and anyone else exercising a “public function”).

Public bodies are required to act lawfully, rationally, and in accordance with fundamental rights. If they think an unlawful decision has been made, an affected individual or organisation can seek to challenge it; if they succeed, the court can require the public body to remake their decision or refrain from taking a particular action.

Why it is important

Public bodies make many decisions including whether and how to enact and apply regulations, policies, plans, undertake consultations, and award public contracts. These decisions may affect individuals and organisations in their daily lives and business, or may affect the public more broadly.

Judicial Review allows individuals to compel public bodies to face up to their unlawful actions. This is crucial for ensuring that they follow the proper procedures when making decisions. If a claim is successful, the decision may be quashed, and the public body must take the decision again. This ensures that a better decision is likely to be made in practice.

Three grounds for a challenge

  1. Illegality or unlawfulness: the public body is alleged to have acted outside the scope of its powers or breached a legal requirement.
  2. Irrationality: the claimant must show that the decision was so unreasonable that no reasonable decision-maker would have reached it.
  3. Unfairness: where decisions are conspicuously unfair in how they were reached, or where a decision was given without reasons, was biased or predetermined.