Please note, the purpose of this section is solely to illustrate key elements of the process to those who are daunted by, or unfamiliar with, this form of redress. If any organisation is considering taking any form of legal action against the Commission, they should first take professional legal advice to ensure that they are fully informed prior to and during any such proceedings
1. These notes are not intended to be exhaustive but are designed to offer an outline of the procedure to be followed when seeking to make an application for judicial review in the Administrative Court. For further details of the procedure to be followed you and your representatives/legal advisers should consult Part 54 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) and the Practice Directions accompanying Part 54.
What is judicial review?
2.1 Judicial review is the procedure by which you can seek to challenge the decision, action or failure to act of a public body such as a government department or a local authority or other body exercising a public law function. If you are challenging the decision of a court, the jurisdiction of judicial review extends only to decisions of inferior courts. It does not extend to decisions of the High Court or Court of Appeal. Judicial review must be used where you are seeking:
a mandatory order (i.e. an order requiring the public body to do something and formerly known as an order of mandamus);
a prohibiting order (i.e. an order preventing the public body from doing something and formerly known as an order of prohibition); or
a quashing order (i.e. an order quashing the public body's decision and formerly known as an order of certiorari)
2.2 Claims will generally be heard by a single Judge sitting in open Court. The Administrative Court sits at:
The Royal Courts of Justice in London – Room C315, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, WC2A 2LL;
Manchester Civil Justice Centre – 1 Bridge Street West, Manchester, M3 3FX
Where a case is directed to be heard by a Divisional Court (a court of two judges) the hearing will be in London.
What is the pre-action protocol?
3.1 The protocol sets out a code of good practice and contains the steps which parties should generally follow before making a claim for judicial review. The objective of the pre-action protocol is to avoid unnecessary litigation.
3.2 Before making your claim for judicial review, you should send a letter to the defendant. The purpose of this letter is to identify the issues in dispute and establish whether litigation can be avoided. The letter should contain the date and details of the decision, act or omission being challenged and a clear summary of the facts on which the claim is based. It should also contain the details of any relevant information that the claimant is seeking and an explanation of why this is considered relevant. A claim should not normally be made until the proposed reply date given in the letter before claim has passed, unless the circumstances of the case require more immediate action to be taken.
3.3 Defendants should normally respond to that letter within 14 days and sanctions may be imposed unless there are good reasons for not responding within that period.
NB- The protocol does not affect the time limit specified by CPR Part 54.5(1) namely that an application for permission to apply for judicial review must be made promptly and in any event not later than 3 months after the grounds upon which the claim is based first arose.
NB- You should seek advice as to whether the protocol is appropriate in the circumstances of your case. Use of the protocol will not be appropriate where the defendant does not have the legal power to change the decision being challenged. It also may not be appropriate in circumstances where the application is urgent.
NB- A letter before claim will not automatically stop the implementation of a disputed decision.
NB- Even in emergency cases, it is good practice to fax the draft claim form that you are intending to issue to the defendant. You will also normally be required to notify a defendant when you are seeking an interim order; i.e. an order giving some form of relief pending the final determination of the claim.
3.4 Any claim for judicial review must indicate whether or not the protocol has been complied with. If the protocol has not been complied with, the reasons for failing to do so should be set out in the claim form.
Where should I commence proceedings?
4.1 Claims for judicial review under CPR Part 54 are dealt with in the Administrative Court.
4.2 Claims may be issued at the District Registry of the High Court at Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds or Manchester as well as at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Cases started in Birmingham will normally be determined at a court in the Midland region; in Cardiff in Wales; in Leeds in the North-Eastern Region; in London at the Royal Courts of Justice and in Manchester, in the North-Western Region.
4.3 The general expectation is that proceedings will be administered and determined in the region with which the claimant has the closest connection, subject to the following considerations as applicable—
(1) any reason expressed by any party for preferring a particular venue;
(2) the region in which the defendant, or any relevant office or department of the defendant, is based;
(3) the region in which the claimant’s legal representatives are based;
(4) the ease and cost of travel to a hearing;
(5) the availability and suitability of alternative means of attending a hearing (for example, by videolink);
(6) the extent and nature of media interest in the proceedings in any particular locality;
(7) the time within which it is appropriate for the proceedings to be determined;
(8) whether it is desirable to administer or determine the claim in another region in the light of the volume of claims issued at, and the capacity, resources and workload of, the court at which it is issued ;
(9) whether the claim raises issues sufficiently similar to those in another outstanding claim to make it desirable that it should be determined together with, or immediately following, that other claim; and
(10) whether the claim raises devolution issues and for that reason whether it should more appropriately be determined in London or Cardiff.
This material has been reproduced from Her Majesty's Courts Service by ilegal to assist any organisation considering commencing such action against the Legal Services Commission. You can view the source and further information from HMCS here:
SECTION 1. INFORMATION REQUIRED IN A LETTER BEFORE CLAIM Proposed claim for judicial review1To (Insert the name and address of the proposed defendant – see details in section 2)
2The claimant (Insert the title, first and last name and the address of the claimant)
3Reference details (When dealing with large organisations it is important to understand that the information relating to any particular individual's previous dealings with it may not be immediately available, therefore it is important to set out the relevant reference numbers for the matter in dispute and/or the identity of those within the public body who have been handling the particular matter in dispute – see details in section 3)
4The details of the matter being challenged (Set out clearly the matter being challenged, particularly if there has been more than one decision)
5The issue (Set out the date and details of the decision, or act or omission being challenged, a brief summary of the facts and why it is contented to be wrong)
6The details of the action that the defendant is expected to take (Set out the details of the remedy sought, including whether a review or any interim remedy are being requested)
7The details of the legal advisers, if any, dealing with this claim (Set out the name, address and reference details of any legal advisers dealing with the claim)
8The details of any interested parties (Set out the details of any interested parties and confirm that they have been sent a copy of this letter)
9The details of any information sought (Set out the details of any information that is sought. This may include a request for a fuller explanation of the reasons for the decision that is being challenged)
10The details of any documents that are considered relevant and necessary (Set out the details of any documentation or policy in respect of which the disclosure is sought and explain why these are relevant. If you rely on a statutory duty to disclose, this should be specified)
11The address for reply and service of court documents (Insert the address for the reply)
12Proposed reply date (The precise time will depend upon the circumstances of the individual case. However, although a shorter or longer time may be appropriate in a particular case, 14 days is a reasonable time to allow in most circumstances)
SECTION 2. ADDRESS FOR SENDING THE LETTER BEFORE CLAIM Public bodies have requested that, for certain types of cases, in order to ensure a prompt response, letters before claim chould be sent to specific addresses. •Where the claim concerns a decision in an Immigration, Asylum or Nationality case:Judicial Review Unit, UK Border Agency St Anne’s House 20-26 Wellesley Road Croydon CR9 2RL
•Where the claim concerns a decision by the Legal Services Commission: — The address on the decision letter/notification; and Legal Director Corporate Legal Team Legal Services Commission 4 Abbey Orchard Street London SW1P 2BS
•Where the claim concerns a decision by a local authority: — The address on the decision letter/notification; and — Their legal department8 •Where the claim concerns a decision by a department or body for whom Treasury Solicitor acts and Treasury Solicitor has already been involved in the case a copy should also be sent, quoting the Treasury Solicitor's reference, to: The Treasury Solicitor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4TS In all other circumstances, the letter should be sent to the address on the letter notifying the decision. SECTION 3. SPECIFIC REFERENCE DETAILS REQUIRED Public bodies have requested that the following information should be provided in order to ensure prompt response. •Where the claim concerns an Immigration, Asylum or Nationality case, dependent upon the nature of the case: — The Home Office reference number — The Port reference number — The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal reference number — The National Asylum Support Service reference number Or, if these are unavailable: — The full name, nationality and date of birth of the claimant. •Where the claim concerns a decision by the Legal Services Commission: — The certificate reference number.