Changes In Judicial Review Procedure

Author:Mr Edward Gleeson, Catherine Allen, Niall Michel, Brian Horkan and James Bardon
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

The Rules of the Superior Courts (Judicial Review) 2011, SI 2011/691, replace the previous Rules 18 to 28 of Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts 1986. The new rules came into operation on 1 January, 2012 and apply to applications for leave for judicial review and applications for judicial review made after that date. A copy of the SI is available by clicking here. The changes to the procedures are not fundamental in nature, but will nonetheless have important consequences for public bodies and deserve attention. The more significant changes made by the Rules are as follows:

The time period in which applications for leave to seek certiorari must be made has been reduced from six months to three months, with a saver for cases where the grounds for application arose prior to 1 January, 2012 (r 21(1)). Further, the general obligation to move promptly (even within the permitted time period) is dropped. However, that does not mean that expedition is no longer required of an applicant for leave for judicial review. The new rule 21(6) plainly preserves the Court's discretion to refuse judicial review on grounds of delay which has caused prejudice to a respondent or third party. Therefore, public bodies can still rely on this ground when opposing an application for judicial review. However, an application for leave for judicial review which has been brought within time can no longer be refused on the sole ground that it was not brought sufficiently "promptly". Rule 21(7) provides that the new time limits are without prejudice to any statutory provision which has the effect of limiting the time within which an application for judicial review may be made. Where an extension of time is required to seek leave for judicial review, it will now be necessary to show that there is good and sufficient reason for this to be done and that the delay is due to circumstances outside the applicant's control or which he could not have reasonably anticipated (r 21(3)). In deciding whether to grant an extension, the court may have regard to the effect that the extension might have on a respondent or third party. Greater precision is required in drafting a statement grounding an application for judicial review and, public bodies to note, a statement of opposition (r 20(3) and r 22(5)). There is now a requirement to specify the grounds on which each relief is sought or opposed and to identify in respect of each of the facts or matters relied...

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