What is Public Law and Judicial Review?

What is public law? 

Public law is the law relating to the exercise of power by public bodies. It is a specialised area of the law. Almost everybody is affected by public law, whether or not they are aware of it.

What are public bodies?

There are many public bodies of various kinds. Public bodies make decisions every day which affect the lives of millions of individuals. Simple examples of public bodies include local authorities, Government ministries, the Prison Service, NHS Trusts, coroners’ courts, minsiters and even Parliament itself. There are literally hundreds of public bodies and it is almost impossible to list them all. Public bodies make decisions which affect us all and sometimes those decisions are ‘unreasonable’ or simply unlawful. In England & Wales we are lucky in that we can challenge decisions of public bodies where we feel that these are unreasonable or unlawful decisions or where the decision making process was flawed. It may be a decision again the local authority plans to extend a motorway, through to the decision to deny someone a legal remedy, or housing or the right to live somewhere. Public law covers all the decisions made by public bodies. Citizens can seek redress for some of these bad decisions through the courts. Public law provides various ‘remedies’ that can be applied for through the courts.

What are public law remedies?

Public law remedies include many procedures by which citizens can challenge the legality of decisions made by public bodies. These often comprise of the following:

  • Judicial review: court proceedings in which a judge is asked to review the lawfulness or reasonableness of a decision made by a public body or an official acting for a public body;
  • Complaints procedures; and
  • Ombudsman schemes such as the Local Government Ombudsman, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration as well as many others.

What can we do to help?

Mansouri Solicitors specialise is all aspects of public law and Judicial Review proceedings. We also have a franchise in Public Law from the Legal Services Commission which allows us to grant Legal Aid to certain individuals to pursue their claims in public law through the courts. Of course Legal Aid in public law is subject to various requirements, but we will discuss those details with clients, when the time comes. Public Law is often the solution for some of the most disadvantaged people in society and it can offer a very powerful remedy. In our opinion, public law isthe cornerstone of a democracy. It allows any citizen to challenge a decision of a public body which can often seem to be a daunting challenge. Some people refer to public law as the ‘poor man’s law’. In a way it is because it allows very ordinary people to challenge decisions made by very powerful people. Public law is the essence of what makes us all ‘equal’.

If you are facing the consequences of what you perceiveto be a ‘bad’ or ‘unreasonable’ decision by a public body, call us on 020 8401 7352 for a free consultation with an expert solicitor and where we feel that we can offer you help, we will arrange an appointment to see you to discuss the matter and we may even be able to offer you Legal Aid in this very special area of law.