Judicial Review

Our Litigation & Dispute Resolution team has extensive experience in acting for clients seeking to judicially review decisions of, for example:

  • Competition Authority
  • Commission for Aviation Regulations
  • Government departments
  • Dublin Airport Authority
  • Other regulatory bodies

About Judicial Review

The High Court has the ability to review decisions made by administrative bodies. This is a process known as “judicial review”. The High Court is concerned with how the decision was made and the fairness of it, rather than whether it was the right decision in all the circumstances. So, the court will be interested to know whether relevant considerations were taken into account, whether the body failed to take relevant considerations into account, whether there was any evidence of fraud or bad faith, or whether indeed the body making the decision didn’t in fact have the legal power to do so.

Steps in requesting a Judicial Review:

  1. An application is made to the High Court, without notice to the decision making body, asking the court for permission (termed “leave”) to bring the application looking to challenge the relevant decision.
  2. The application has to set out in detail what the issues are and there is an onus on the applicant to make the court aware of all relevant facts.
  3. The application has to be made as soon as possible and in any event within 3-6 months depending on what remedy is sought.
  4. If leave is granted, then the papers are served on the relevant body who is given an opportunity to defend the position and ultimately the case will be heard, usually on the basis of written documents and no oral evidence, in the High Court.
  5. That decision may be appealed to the Supreme Court.
  6. The outcome of a successful judicial review is usually that the decision is set aside.

For some decisions in specialist areas, the ability to judicially review decisions is curtailed. This would apply for example in the areas of planning and environmental law, immigration law, and competition law. In those areas, the time limits are shorter, in some cases the leave application is to be made on notice to the decision making body, and the right of appeal to the Supreme Court is severely limited.