chapter  11
14 Pages


11.1 Judicial review in the UK

The purposes of a legal system in a liberal democracy include setting limits on the powers of public authorities, providing a framework of rules and procedures for making collective decisions, and imposing legal responsibilities on public authorities to secure people’s safety and welfare (see above, 1.7). Judicial review is one field of legal activity concerned with all of these purposes. A central objective of judicial review is to give judges power to ensure that public authorities act within the limits of the powers conferred on them directly or indirectly by the UK Parliament, and to ensure that public authorities fulfil their statutory duties. Judicial review is also used to ensure that, when ministers in the UK government exercise prerogative powers (see above, 2.4.3) they do so in accordance with the law. In recent years, judicial review has also been used as a way of making non-statutory self-regulatory bodies, such as the Press Complaints Commission, act according to recognised legal principles.