Judicial Review – The control of administrative functions

Judicial review is a procedure in English administrative law by which the courts supervise the exercise of public power on the application of a citizen or private concern.

Charles A. Gomez and Co. have wide experience in the field and have acted as counsel in a number of reported cases involving planning and financial services regulation issues and police matters as well as telecommunications. We have also promoted Constitutional Motions where rights recognised by the Gibraltar Constitution have been infringed.

In 2010 we represented the successful applicants in a judicial review case relating to the intended construction of a £150,000,000 power station in the Lathbury area of Gibraltar.

The law in Gibraltar closely follows that of England and Wales with regards to judicial review.

A person who feels that a power or discretion has been exercised unlawfully by a government authority, such as a minister, an official, a department, a committee, a commission, or a statutory tribunal, may apply to the Supreme Court for judicial review of the decision with a view to having it set aside and possibly even obtain compensation.

Judicial review is a two step process. The first step involves an application to the Court seeking permission to apply for judicial review. The purpose of this preliminary stage is to ‘weed out any vexatious or frivolous claims’. An application can be decided on the papers or, very often, a judge will require oral submissions. If permission is granted, the applicant will be able to proceed to a substantive hearing. Sometimes the court will deal with both the application for permission and a substantive hearing at the same time in what is known as a “rolled up” hearing.

The remedies available to an applicant at a judicial review are found under Section 17A of the Supreme Court Act 1960 and are: a mandatory order (mandamus); an order prohibiting an action (prohibition); an order directing that the act complained of be reviewed (certiorari); a declaration or an injunction.

There is however a strict time limit in which an applicant is allowed to bring a claim for judicial review. An application must be made within 3 months of the act or omission or decision complained of and even then, the applicant must act without any undue delay and must apply promptly.

Recent UK and EU case law has brought some certainty when it comes to claims in which EU rights come into play – in such cases the full three months will apply without any further inquiry as to promptness.

For more information please contact us on 200 74998 or email info@gomezco.gi

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