Judicial Review

Judicial Review is a process where a Court reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action of the Local Authority. Its purpose is to determine whether the Local Authority is acting in accordance with the law. Are their actions or decisions lawful. There are many laws which apply to the area of Education and this process provides a mechanism for ensuring the Local Authority can be held accountable if they do not adhere to the law and the statutory timescales.

If you think that the Local Authority have not followed the proper legal process particularly if they have missed statutory deadlines then we can help. We will write a letter before claim [often referred to as a pre-action letter] on your behalf to the Local Authority detailing the issues, where they have acted unlawfully and what is required to remedy the issues and give them 14 days to reply. In our experience the Local Authority take action very quickly after receiving such correspondence. Judicial Review is effective.

Local Authorities often miss deadlines for making decisions in relation to educational plans and fail to provide the provision that is often already secured within a plan.

We can assist with the Judicial Review process from drafting the pre-action letter and following the Judicial Review pre-action protocols to providing support and assistance with the formal proceedings.

We can assist if your Local Authority is failing to meet its statutory obligations. Our education law solicitors also advise on other aspects of education law including EHCPs & IDPs.

Judicial Review FAQs

There is a 3 month time limit. Claims must be brought promptly but no later than 3 months from the date of the breach.  Therefore, it is very important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.

The first stage is to send a formal letter before claim to the Local Authority detailing the proposed claim and the remedy that is sought.  This is known as a pre-action protocol letter.  The Defendant will normally respond within 14 days and often concedes that they have acted unlawfully and provide the requested remedy which will hopefully avoid the need to issue court proceedings.

If the Local Authority does not adhere to the terms of the pre-action letter, then you can issue a claim at court requesting permission to proceed with the Judicial Review.  There is a court fee to pay.  You will need to complete a claim form detailing the grounds of the claim and prepare a statement in support of the case. Once the case is issued by the Court it will be served on the Local Authority.  Following the Local Authority providing a defence, the Court will then decide whether you have an arguable case and you can proceed with the claim to a full hearing.

Any person with a sufficient interest in a decision may apply for a Judicial Review.

In the education setting it is usually the parents of children where the Local Authority has acted in breach of its legal obligations.  Generally, the Local Authority is refusing to do something which it is required to do by law, it has made a decision it was not entitled to make or it has missed a statutory deadline and refuses to remedy the situation.

Judicial review cannot be used to challenge the merit of the decision taken by the Local Authority.  The Court is limited to ruling on whether the decision was made following the proper process.

It is difficult to determine whether there has been a breach so feel free to contact us to discuss the position as we can assist in assessing whether the Local Authority have acted unlawfully.

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