Thousands of decisions are made each day by public bodies which can include the UK Government, local governments, the NHS, housing associations as well as many other organisations.
Public Law can best be described as a set of legal principles that govern how these public bodies exercise their powers.
From Cabinet Ministers in Central Government to local council committees in a village hall, all public bodies are expected to act fairly and responsibly when making decisions about your access to public services or any problems you may have with these services.
Public bodies are always expected to keep your human rights in mind when making decisions so it’s very important that you are able to challenge their decisions when things go wrong. Official complaints procedures and Ombudsman schemes are a couple of ways of doing this but the main method of challenging public decisions is via judicial review.
Judicial Review: How Public Law Solicitors Can Help You Challenge Decisions
People making decisions on behalf of public bodies must abide by certain public law principles that expect them to act fairly, reasonably and rationally.
When public bodies fail to act in accordance with these principles they can be challenged. The expert Public Law Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers have many years’ experience helping people bring judicial review proceedings to challenge decisions made by public bodies.
Our free Public Law Challenges legal advice guide covers judicial review proceedings in detail but the current grounds for judicial review include:
Illegality – if the public body does not properly follow the law then their decision or failure to act will be ‘illegal’. Circumstances include when a public body acts outside of its legislative powers or acts ‘ultra vires’ which means acting ‘beyond its powers’
Irrationality – decisions can be challenged if they are considered by the Court to be so irrational that no reasonable decision maker could have made them.
Fairness – if there are clear procedures that a public body is required to follow then a failure to do so can amount to a decision by that body being procedurally unfair.
Changes to the judicial review system are likely via the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 which is soon to become law. For more information see our news article: House of Lords Pass Criminal Justice and Courts Bill Amendments.
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