The historical antecedents of modern judicial review were the so-called prerogative writs.  They are certiorari mandamus prohibition and habeas corpus.  The label prerogative emphasizes their link with the Crown.

The writs issued from the Kings Bench which was notionally the court most closely associated with the King. The functions of the Kings Bench transferred to the High Court after the amalgamation of the courts of equity and courts of law.

Certiorari was a command issued from the Crown.  Mandamus is founded on an alleged failure of an officer of the Crown to perform a public duty.  Prohibition forbids a proposed course. Habeas corpus required production of imprisoned person and justification for the depravation of their liberty.

A feature which remains to the current day,  is that the writs do not issue as of right, but as a matter of the court\’s discretion.  This does not mean that the discretion is exercisable in an arbitrary manner.

The orders were referred to as so-called state side orders.  The matters commenced by a unilateral application for a conditional order. The matter proceeded by way of notice on motion by an order making the conditional order absolute. . Cause could then be shown against the conditional or provisional order by the respondent.   If cause was not shown an application could be made, make the order absolute.

A Law Reform Commission  Review led to a substantial revision of the rules in the 1986 reconsolidation of the Rules of the Superior Court.  This rationalised the procedure.

The matter commences by way of an application for judicial review in accordance with the revised rules.  The various remedies can be claimed as an alternative or together.  Those  remedies include an injunction and an order for damages

The prerogative nature of the proceedings was reflected in the title [the King (or Queen) [A] v [B].  This continued to be used in the 1920s reflecting the continued place of the crown in the Irish Free State.  Ultimately, in the early 1930s, the “Crown” (R) was substituted by “the State”, with the application entitled

The State [A] v B

The 1986 Rules removed the “State” from the title of the plaintiff.  This reflects the fact the plaintiff is usually a private citizen, and that a state body is the defendant.  Accordingly proceedings are simply entitled as [A] v  [B] but are labelled judicial review proceedings for administrative purposes.

The named respondent is the party against whom relief is sought. Parties who have an interest but against whom the relief is not sought, may join or be joined in the proceedings.

The first stage in a judicial review application is the application for leave for judicial review.  It must be made promptly and in any event within three months of the date of the grounds when the application first arose. In some cases, such as in planning, a shorter time limit applies. The court may, if there is good reason, extend the period in which the application may be made.

In any event, the applicant must move expeditiously and any delay maybe a bar in itself at the court\’s discretion even if made within the three month period. The courts are reluctant to grant extensions of time without good reason.

An application for judicial review is preceded by an ex parte [unilateral application] in a prescribed form verifying the facts concerned.  In an increasing number of cases, statute requires that the application for  leave is made on notice to the other party.   In an increasing number of cases, statute provides a higher threshold than applies generally.

The grounds must be set out. The affidavit must set out the particulars of the applicant, the grounds of the application and the reliefs sought.  This is verified by affidavit.

Papers are filed in the Central Office of the High Court and the application is made in an ex parte list.  Urgent applications may be made directly to the judge by arrangement with the registrar.

The applicant must show that he or she has a sufficient interest in the matter.  The case set out must be stateable and that it forms a sufficient basis for the relief sought.  The court will consider whether the application has been made promptly and in good time.

It must be shown that the facts claimed would, if  proved,  be sufficient to support a  stateable ground for the relief.  There must be an arguable case in law that the applicant is entitled to the relief. It must be shown that the only effective remedy is by way of judicial review or that if there is an alternative remedy, that  judicial review is more appropriate. The conditions are not exhaustive, and the court has a broad discretion on an application for an ex parte order.

The court may grant leave and impose terms as to costs.  It may require an undertaking in relation to damages.  The judge may require the undertaking of his own motion, or it may be sought by a respondent party on continuation of leave or on the initial application on notice. Security may be required exceptionally.

Where an order of prohibition or certiorari is sought, the court may direct the ground of leave, stays proceedings in the matter concerned until the application is determined or until the court orders otherwise.  Under the rules, the court may grant such interim relief as may be granted in a claim by plenary summons.  The principles applicable on the grant of an  interlocutory  injunctions apply.

Where the ex parte application is either refused and heard in part by the High Court, an application may be brought to the Court of Appeal within four days or  such longer time as the Court of Appeal Court may allow.

It appears that the respondent or notice party may themselves appeal the grant of leave.  The court itself has jurisdiction set this aside.  There is a heavy onus on the respondent in such an application.  The respondent may apply to court to vary or discharge the order.  This is done by motion on notice.

After the granting of leave, the court may direct that the matter proceed by originating motion of notice of motion or plenary summons.  Plenary summons is only used in more complex cases.  Once leave is granted, the originating motion or summons must be served within 14 days or such longer period as the order directs.

The applicant must serve copies of the orders, statement of grounds and verifying affidavits and the respondents and other parties who are directly affected.  Service must generally be personal.  If the person concerned/  applicant is in custody, he may use prepaid post.

If the application relates to court proceedings and the purpose is to have the court or court officer do a particular thing, the notice of motion or summons is served on a clerk or registrar.  In the case of an application against a state authority [as most such applications will be] the order generally directs service on the Chief States solicitors\’ office on behalf of the authority.

An affidavit is filed giving particulars of service.  If persons who ought to have been served have not been served an explanation is required.  The court may adjourn proceedings and direct service on other parties.  Generally the applicant must lodge the order challenged, verified by affidavit if necessary, in the court offices.

When leave is granted, the court may fix a date on which the notice of motion is to be heard.  On the first date, a short directions hearing is likely.  This will deal with the exchange of documents before the principal trial or hearing of the matter.

The next stage will be a scheduled date for exchange of documents.  If documents have been exchanged and pre-trial directions completed, the case is adjourned to a list to fix dates for the purpose of a trial.

Practice directions require lodgements of documents for the court in advance of hearing including copies of the  motion order granting leave, statement of grants, affidavits, exhibits, statement of opposition, affidavit in support of opposition, affidavit of service, copies of the challenged order where applicable.  These should be prepared by way of book of documents for the judge.

Generally the parties are required to submit written summaries of their submissions in central office at least a week before the hearing.  This should refer to the relevant authorities, statutes et cetera.  This does not necessarily limit the parties to these arguments.

A respondent must file a statement  setting out grounds of opposition and facts.  The facts on which it is based must be verified by affidavit.  It must be limited to mattes in the application in respect of which leave for review has been granted.

The statement of opposition and supporting affidavits are to be served within seven days after service of the notice of motion as court allows.  An application for extension may be made ex parte in some cases.

A third party with an interest in the application may apply to be heard to oppose the application, notwithstanding that it has not been had a party or served.  It must be a party with proper interest in the matter.

Court has jurisdiction to deal with interlocutory application for judicial review.  This includes application for discovery, interrogatories, third party discovery, examination on commission.  An interlocutory application for injunction may be made.

The court may allow the applicant or respondent to amend their statement or opposition as it sees fit.  Further affidavits may be allowed.  An application for amendment must be made on notice to the other party.  An amendment on pleadings will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.  This is because the leave to appeals is based on the case as originally presented.

The court may stay proceedings if it forms the view that they are  frivolous or vexations or that the case must fail.  However such cases are unlikely to secure leave for review, in the first case.

The hearing on the trial of the matter is generally on affidavit.  The court may order attendance of persons to be cross-examined.  Alternatively an application may be made to direct person to attend for cross examination.  An oral hearing may be directed in any case where there is a conflict of affidavit evidence which requires to be resolved.

Where the application proceeds by way of plenary summons, there will be a full hearing with oral evidence. The court may hear the matter on the basis of agreed facts or written evidence.  This may be done the with the court’s agreement.

On determination of proceedings, the court may make the appropriate order.  Certiorari invalidates and quashes  the proceedings concerned.  A declaration declares rights.  Injunction or damages may also issue,

Where a declaration, injunction or damages are sought and the court considers it more appropriate that the matter proceed as if brought by plenary summons, it may so direct.  An order may be made that  proceedings stand and be heard as if commenced by plenary summons.

If a decision is invalidated, it may be remitted to the relevant authority with a direction to reconsider it and make the decision or determination in accordance with the court\’s findings and judgment.

Costs in judicial proceedings are determined in the usual way.  Exceptionally, an unsuccessful applicant may be awarded costs if the court considers that an important point of law was involved. Conversely in exceptional case, an applicant may be denied costs, notwithstanding that his case is successful.

In principle, cost are not awarded against a judge unless he or she has not acted bona fide or have supported a case that is wrong in law.  This may lead to anomalies.

In criminal cases, the DPP is made party to judicial review, largely for the purpose of cost.

An appeal lies to the Supreme Court / Court of Appeal in respect of decisions of the high court.  Notice of appeal is given within 21 days of the formalisation of the High Court order. It must be entered in the office within seven days.  Five books of appeal must be lodged containing matters prescribed by Practice Direction.

A date is allocated for hearing and submissions are required.  The court may make directions regarding the organization of the hearing. The court will generally base the appeal on review of the affidavits and the transcript in the case of evidence given verbally.  New points may only be introduced in exceptional circumstances.


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