What Is judicial review?
A judicial review allows a judge to review a decision made or action taken by a public body (such as UKVI). In more precise terms (and in the context of immigration law), it is the legal procedure which allows judges of the Administrative Division of the High Court, and the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) to exercise jurisdiction over the lawfulness of any acts or omissions of UKVI, and a supervisory jurisdiction over inferior courts and tribunals. It is important to understand that a judicial review is an option of last resort and will only ever be undertaken once all other remedies have been exhausted.
A judicial review can be brought only under very specific grounds, including where has been:
- Irrationality (Unreasonableness)
- Procedural impropriety
- Legitimate expectation
- A breach of the Human Rights Act, or;
- A breach of EU law
By making a case to UKVI that we believe there has been a breach of one of the principles above, it is necessary to ensure that the case is as strong as possible and gives you the very best chance of success. RVS Solicitors are highly adept at making cases for judicial review that are legally robust and provide little basis for argument that a breach has occurred.
What is the process of applying for a judicial review?
Before invoking the judicial review process, RVS Solicitors will undertake a detailed assessment of the facts of your case, and the basis for the decision not to grant you a visa, or your organisation a Sponsor License. If we believe that you do have a valid case for a judicial review, we will outline our proposed strategy and the merits of your case.
We will then collate all of necessary information and documentary evidence which will support your case. We will endeavour to make this process as easy for you as possible, and we will work with your advisor, or any other person/s on your behalf to complete this information gathering process.
There is a strict time-limit on bringing claims for judicial review; challenges normally must be made within three months of the original decision.
The process of judicial review is as follows:
Step 1 – An initial letter to UKVI
The first stage is that we will draft a letter to UKVI, outlining where the breach occurred, and seek to have the decision overturned, without the need for any further action. This is often effective and can save a great deal of unnecessary time taking further legal measures
The next step will be to progress to the pre-action protocol stage. Before doing so, we will take the time to explain the pros and cons of taking the judicial review process, what will happen if you are successful, and what may happen if you are not (including the potential that you will need to pay costs to UKVI). You can be assured that we have overseen many judicial review cases, and understand not only the process but also the pitfalls to avoid. We will always be fully transparent and open with you. If we believe your case lacks merit, or if there is a risk implicit in your case, we will explain this to you.
Step 2 – Pre-Action Protocol
The Pre-Action Protocol is a series of best practice procedures designed to be undertaken prior to bringing a claim for judicial review. The Protocol is aimed at ensuring parties exchange information and tries to encourage an early settlement through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and/or negotiation.
As part of the Pre-Action Protocol, we will send the Home Office a ‘Letter Before Claim’. This will set out the details of the immigration decision being challenged and the date the refusal took place.
The Home Office should reply to the Letter Before Claim within 14 days. Failure to do so could result in court sanctions. We will keep a close eye on the time-frames, ensuring your claim does not become time-barred because of Home office inaction.
Often the receipt of a Letter Before Claim is enough to encourage the Home Office to review their original conclusion and provide a positive decision. This saves our clients time, money and stress, allowing them to continue with their lives.