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Judicial review

This is a court process in which a judge reviews whether an action or decision taken by a public body was lawful. That public body might be a local authority, a health authority or a school’s board of governors.

The judge must decide whether the public body followed the correct procedures within the law in reaching the decision that it did.

If the judge finds that correct procedures were not followed, this does not mean the judge will substitute an alternative ‘decision’. The public body may be able to make the same decision again, as long as it does so in a lawful way, following correct procedures.

Parents can use judicial review to challenge how a local authority has acted. For example, if they think children’s services have not met a legal duty towards their child. This is unusual, however. Parents will normally need to follow the public body’s complaints procedure first. They will then need to refer the matter to the Ombudsman. Once those options have been exhausted, they may wish to consider applying for judicial review.

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