Judicial Review

1615 Words Mar 6th, 2011 7 Pages
The area of law in which this question is concerned is judicial review. Judicial review can be defined as ‘… the means by which the Courts control the exercise of Governmental powers.’ The Courts will look at the way in which a decision was made, not the decision itself, to find out if any powers have been abused.
Judicial review is an application to the Courts to assess an action or decision made by a public body on a point of public law. A particular decision may be found to be in breach of natural justice or have been made ultra vires, that is, beyond the scope of the powers. The case of O’Reilly v Mackman shows the general rule that when claiming against a public body, judicial review should be used. Lord Diplock described this as an
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If a final decision has been based on an irrelevant consideration then it will be deemed ultra vires. In Roberts v Hopwood it was held that the Council had looked at irrelevant aspects and ignored relevant ones. However, the use of irrelevant considerations will not make a decision unlawful so long as it was a relevant consideration which largely influenced the final decision .
Another aspect of illegality concerns a body delegating powers given to them to another person; this would also deem a decision ultra vires . However, it is possible for Ministers to delegate powers given to them to officials as it would be unreasonable to expect a Minister to complete all jobs given to them .
The next ground is that of irrationality which was first introduced as ‘unreasonableness’ in Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation . It was held that the decision of a public body will only be deemed unreasonable if they have reached the decision in a manner so unreasonable that no other authority could have reached it. In Hall and Co v Shoreham-by-Sea UDC an unreasonable condition was found.
An aspect of this ground is proportionality, which concerns itself with cases involving human rights or EU issues. It is often described as ‘taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut’ which refers to the means used to reach the end decision. It was fully accepted into UK law after the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998 but it was has been previously considered in R v

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