Form N461:

Judicial Review Claim Form

Form N461 is utilised to commence legal proceedings for Judicial Review. This involves the Claimant firstly seeking permission to review the decision of a public body on the basis that it may be irrational or does not follow the body’s own guidance, and secondly if permission is granted, to determine the lawfulness of that decision and whether it should be reconsidered.

 

Form N461 and Supporting Documents

The Form N461 Claim Form should be accompanied by Grounds for Judicial Review which will set out the reasons on which the original decision challenged, may be considered unlawful. Such reasons can include, but are not exhaustive of:

  1. Illegality;
  2. Procedural unfairness;
  3. Irrationality.

The Grounds for Judicial Review will set out the circumstances of the original decision of the public body being challenged, and will then set out the case as to why that decision is considered illegal/procedurally unfair or irrational. Quite often, public bodies can be found to make decisions which do not follow their own guidance, or quite simply ones that they do not have the power to make.

 

When are Judicial Review Proceedings Issued?

The Form N461 and Grounds of Judicial Review have a limited timeframe to be lodged, within 3 months of the date of the decision being challenged. Thereafter the challenge is barred by limitation, and it is important to note that prior to issuing proceedings, the Claimant must ensure that the pre-action protocol is followed, and that a Letter before Action is sent to the Defendant public body giving them fair warning that proceedings will be issued if the challenged decision is not withdrawn or reconsidered.

 

What Happens Once Judicial Review Proceedings are Issued?

The Defendant will have the opportunity to respond with an Acknowledgement of Service, in which they will set out their reasons as to what aspects of the claim are accepted, or disputed. Often at this juncture on a strong case, and once the Defendant has had their decision reviewed by a legal professional, the Judicial Review may be challenged on the basis that the Defendant accepts that their decision should be reconsidered, and that the proceedings are therefore without merit and the process of Judicial Review would therefore be academic. Whilst this may seem unusual, the issuance of the Form N461 has fulfilled its purpose on the basis that the challenged decision is being reconsidered, and therefore to waste Court resources on determining whether the original decision was unlawful/unreasonable is purely academic. In such cases, the Administrative Court (responsible for Judicial Review cases) will refuse permission for Judicial Review.

This can bring into dispute the issue of judicial review costs and whether the Defendant should pay the Claimant’s costs of having to issue the Form N461.

If the Defendant challenges the Claimant’s claim for permission for Judicial Review, then the Administrative Court will need to decide on the papers in the first instance, whether permission should be given to proceed to a final hearing. If permission is given, directions will be given to proceed to a contested final hearing.

If permission is rejected on the papers, the Defendant may seek their costs of having to defend the Form N461, or the Claimant can seek an oral renewal hearing (at further cost and Court fees) to forward their submissions before the Court verbally and to review the initial paper decision.

 

What Happens on Conclusion of Judicial Review Proceedings?

Irrespective of whether the Claimant is successful or not, the general rule is that the losing party pays the winning party’s costs of the judicial review. The earlier in the Judicial Review proceedings that a matter concludes, the lesser those costs are likely to be.

If the Claimant is successful, then they may be able to recover their legal costs from the Defendant. This will arise when either the Defendant concedes their position, and agrees to a Consent Order to reconsider the challenged decision, and also to pay the Claimant’s costs to be assessed if not agreed, or if a final hearing proceedings and the Court makes an order in favour of the Claimant in similar terms.

 

How Can Greener Costs Assist Following Issuance of a Form N461?

At Greener Costs we are able to offer specialist input in relation to judicial review costs. Such matters are often funded by way of legal aid funding, in which case we can assist in the quantification and recovery of your costs from the LAA utilising CCMS, or in the event an inter-partes costs order has been made, recovery of your costs from the Paying Party.

If you are a Paying Party, as independent costs experts, we can assist in negotiating the costs claim against you and, if served with a formal Bill and Notice of Commencement, we can prepare Points of Dispute (legal arguments against the Bill claimed) and assist with the conduct of detailed assessment proceedings.

At Greener Costs, we are a team of specialist Costs Draftsman and Costs Lawyers that have particular expertise in dealing with costs in judicial review matters, and we can assist in the quantification of your costs and preparation of any Bill of Costs for assessment, or challenging of the same if representing a Paying Party. In addition we can conduct detailed assessment proceedings on your behalf, all the way up to and including any final detailed assessment hearing. If you have a query regarding judicial review costs, please do not hesitate to get in touch by contacting info@greenercosts.co.uk, or by calling us on 01204 263047.

 

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