Judicial Review

Shalom Binchy & Co. Solicitors offer advice on Judicial Review issues.

Our firm appears in the High Court Judicial Review List on a regular basis. An application for Judicial Review could be an option for anyone who feels that a court/ tribunal/ State body has acted outside its jurisdiction. In other words that the body has made a decision that they were legally not allowed to make. Time is of the essence in such applications, so it is imperative to consult a solicitor as soon as possible.

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Judicial Review Procedure

Judicial Review is primarily concerned with the procedural legality of the decision but does provide for a limited review of the merits of the decision. A decision of an administrative body may be set aside on the basis that it is unreasonable or irrational.

Conventional judicial review procedure is governed by Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts.

Leave Stage:
Judicial Review involves a mandatory “leave stage”. An application for leave to bring judicial review proceedings must first be made. The leave stage is used to identify, at an early stage, claims which may be trivial or without merit. The application is made by application to the court based on a statement of grounds. This statement should set out the reasons a judicial review is sought. It should be accompanied by an affidavit.

If leave to proceed is granted, the applicant may then bring judicial review proceedings. A notice of motion should be prepared and, along with the court order granting leave to proceed with the judicial review and both the statement of grounds and the affidavit prepared for the earlier stage, served on all persons directly affected by the application.

Statement of Opposition:
A respondent who wishes to oppose an application for judicial review is required to file a Statement of Opposition, and may file a replying affidavit contesting the facts set out by the applicant. Once the pleadings have closed, the matter proceeds to a hearing.

Time Limits:
The judicial review procedure provides for a timely manner of reviewing the decisions of administrative bodies. Order 84, Rule 21(1) of the Rules of the Superior Courts 1986 lays down the requirements in relation to time limits in conventional judicial review proceedings. It provides that an application for leave to apply for judicial review must be made “promptly and within three months from the date when grounds for the application first arose, or six months if the relief sought is certiorari, unless the court considers that there is good reason for extending the period within which the application shall be made”. (Certiorari means to have the decision quashed.)

While there have been very few examples of cases in which judicial review has been refused on grounds of lack of promptness even within the three or six month time periods specified in the rules, this may happen. In its analysis as to whether good reason for an extension of time exists, the courts will look to the merits of the case at hand. To ensure consistency, the onus lies on the applicant to establish good reason to extend time.
Source: www.citizensinformation.ie

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