Public Law & Judicial Review
Challenging public bodies including the government is a fundamental part of our legal system. A public body is an organisation that is, at least in part, publicly funded to deliver a public or government service. For example the DWP, a Local Authority or a Health Board.
A legal challenge to a public body can arise from a decision they have made, something which they have not done or a policy they have adopted.
At Miles and Partners, we specialise in bringing challenges on behalf of claimants which relate to our work in the areas of housing, homelessness, community care and mental health.
Examples of cases which we can advise on include decisions relating to:
- Community Care – for example, in regard to assessments under the Care Act 2014, services for looked after children and care leavers;
- Housing – such as policies or decisions over homelessness or housing allocations for individuals, challenges to secure access to subsistence support for destitute asylum seekers and migrants, or planning decisions affecting residents;
- Mental Health – such as when people suffer unlawful detention or deprivation of liberty,
- Children Law – covering decisions about child protection;
- Welfare benefits – usually decisions by the DWP;
- Data privacy – in regard to the retention or disclosure of public records containing sensitive information, for example in regard to children or mental health;
Complaints and Judicial Review
Our team can advise you on the merits of challenging a public law decision and what steps to take. It may be that a formal complaint is the most effective remedy. A complaint can be made about delay, failure to provide information, failure to investigate and other failings by a public body. The public body can be made to change their decision or provide a service that they have failed to provide, apologise and sometimes pay compensation.
However in many cases, particularly those with some urgency, a Judicial Review claim in the High Court may be more appropriate. In a Judicial Review the court can quash (cancel) a decision and order the public body to make a new lawful decision.
This route is particularly useful for helping a large group of people with a shared problem, as it can also result in authoritative guidance from the court on future decisions and policies.
Judicial review can also be used to challenge a public authority when they have unlawfully failed to make a decision or provide a service.
How we can help
If you believe that a public authority has made an incorrect decision about an issue directly affecting you, then we may be able to help you challenge this.
Time limits in these cases are often very tight (three months for a judicial review and even tighter deadlines where the issue is a planning decision), so please contact us for advice as soon as possible if you believe an unlawful decision has been made – or is about to be made.
Funding for legal advice or representation
Subject to your means, we may be able to obtain legal aid funding to bring a challenge to an unlawful decision.
Once we understand your circumstances, we will advise what funding might be available and discuss which payment options might work best for you.