The increase of regulatory governance by bodies exercising public functions means that many more decisions which can have enormous commercial impact are susceptible to a challenge through the use of judicial review.
Judicial review is not a review of the merits of the decision made, rather it is a review of how that decision was reached.
Challenges can be made on grounds including unlawfulness, irrationality, procedural unfairness or failure to consider the legitimate expectations of interested parties. If successful, a judicial review can result in a court order quashing the decision, granting injunctions and awarding damages.
Judicial reviews must be brought swiftly and the challenges can be considered by the courts often in a matter of weeks or months. We have experience of advising clients wishing to challenge decisions made by public sector bodies including government ministers and departments, industry regulators and local authorities.
We understand the pressure that can be exerted by regulators on your business and on highly regulated commercial sectors. We also understand the need to be able to assimilate detailed and technical information quickly to meet the strict deadlines that govern any judicial review challenge. We work closely with clients and counsel to mount what can often be urgent and technical challenges.
We are experienced at challenging decisions and holding the decision makers to account when needed.
Recent experience includes:
- Acting for a co-defendant in one of the first Bribery Act trials brought in the UK in relation to overseas business contracts in a judicial review of the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) decisions. The prosecution relied upon a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) executed by the SFO. In the course of the prosecution our client sought to judicially review the disclosure obligations of the SFO in the ongoing criminal prosecution which brought into question issues of privilege and due process. (R. (on the application of AL) v Serious Fraud Office  EWHC 856 (Admin) see here.
- Acting for a client as an interested party in a challenge brought by ClientEarth against the Environment Agency relating to the issue of variation of environmental permits regarding the operation of our client’s oil refinery in the UK.
- Acting on behalf of the designer of a prototype vessel intended by the Ministry of Defence to replace some of its destroyers. This culminated in judicial review proceedings against the Ministry of Defence over its decision not to proceed with the prototype.
- Advising a university threatened with judicial review proceedings by an employee who had been unsuccessful with a promotion application.
- Advising a client on challenges to termination of multiple contracts by NHS Trusts regarding disposal of waste.
- Acting on judicial review challenges against Natural England regarding its decision to revoke existing consents to permit heather burning and management techniques.
- Acting for a client in a judicial review of Natural England’s refusal to grant licences to destroy predatory birds.
- Acting for a national supermarket chain in multiple judicial review challenges regarding permissions for development of supermarkets.
- Acting for named descendants of King Richard III in a judicial review challenge on the decision to inter the remains of the King at Leicester Cathedral.