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Judicial review can be described as the inherent power of the High Court to supervise the actions of governmental bodies according to the principles of public law. An individual may be able to bring a claim against decisions made by lower courts, tribunals or self-regulating bodies. Judicial review generally tries to ensure that a decision was made lawfully and in accordance with EU law and human rights as prescribed by law. The the current (2014) Prime Minister, David Cameron, says that judicial review throttles infrastructure growth, yet in 2011, there were 19,000 claims for judicial review; of which 1,220 where granted permission. There were then 396 reviews, 174 of which were successful.

As a quick preliminary point, case names in judicial review are always written in the following form: R (APPLICANT) v DEFENDANT [YEAR]. In the past, the form R v DEFENDANT, ex p APPLICANT [YEAR] was present; if you see either of the forms above, you are considering a judicial review claim.


Although many claims for judicial review are rejected, the process itself can be quite powerful. In R v Leicester JJ, ex p Barrow [1991], a claim allowed union ‘lay people’ to accompany defendants in poll tax payment court hearings; R v SSFA, ex p Rees-Mogg [1994] held up the creation of the EU; the World Development Movement case [1995] saved ¬£200m from the foreign aid budget and in Harrow Community Support [2012], the Defence Secretary was challenged over olympic security measures, albeit unsuccessfully...

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