The arrival of the new regional Administrative Court in Leeds on 21 April 2009 will bring justice closer to home for those aggrieved by a decision of a public body. The ability to conduct proceedings in Leeds means litigants will be able to instruct local solicitors and Counsel, saving time and money by not having to conduct proceedings in London. It should also save the taxpayer money as the costs for local public bodies will also decrease.
Among various other matters, the Administrative Court has the jurisdiction to hear judicial review cases and immigration appeals, which until now have only been heard in London.
The availability of four nominated experienced Circuit Judges at the Court should ensure local understanding is also brought into consideration when hearing cases.
If you have been subjected to an unreasonable decision, action or failure by a public body, it is possible to make an application to the Administrative Court for a Judge to review the lawfulness of that decision, action or failure.
The following people may make a claim for judicial review:
- 1. Individuals with a direct personal interest in the outcome of a claim;
- 2. Individuals with a serious issue of public importance which needs to be tried;
- 3. Local authorities;
- 4. Organisations/groups/pressure groups acting on behalf of the public or on behalf of its members.
The grounds for bringing a claim are as follows:
- 1. Error of law - where a court, tribunal or public authority makes an error of law;
- 2. Procedural impropriety - where there has been a breach of natural justice or procedural fairness (such as the right to a fair hearing);
- 3. Irrationality - where an unreasonable decision has been made such that it can be said that no person properly availing itself of the relevant law could reasonably have reached that decision or the decision is simply irrational;
- 4. Abuse of Power - an act by a public body that is considered to be an abuse of power such as a breach of a person's legitimate expectations or a failure to give reasons for a decision.
An extremely important point to note is that judicial review applications must be made not later than 3 months after the grounds to make the claim first arose. This means that action must be taken extremely quickly and it is therefore important to seek early legal advice.
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