The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Our experienced team of judicial review solicitors can advise and support organisations with all aspects of judicial review, including bringing challenges to decisions of public bodies.
We use our extensive legal and housing sector knowledge to work in partnership with organisations who wish to challenge a decision of a public body. While it is always best to try and resolve the dispute, by negotiation, through mediation or other alternatives to court proceedings, it is vital to obtain prompt advice, as a claim for judicial review has to be issued within three months of the decision being challenged. To challenge a decision legally, it must have been made by a public body such as a government department, local authority, NHS Trust or a regulatory body. Public bodies must act within the law and carry out their decisions rationally and in compliance with proper processes and legislation. Failure to do so could lead to a judicial review claim being issued.
Judicial review can only be initiated when the decision is unlawful, for example when reached by an improper process, not simply because it is thought to be wrong. The key issue is the process by which a decision has been made, not the outcome of the decision. Decisions by public bodies can be challenged on a number of grounds, including:
- the public body not having the power to make a particular decision or it having gone beyond its authority in making the decision;
- the public body acting in an unreasonable or irrational manner;
- decisions have been made without carrying out consultation;
- the procedure followed by the public body is unfair or biased;
- the decision failing to comply with the public body’s statutory obligations or own internal rules;
- the decision taken is in breach of the Human Rights Act or European Community Law; or
- the public body failed to comply with one of its legal duties, such as the public sector equality duties.
Our judicial review service
At Anthony Collins Solicitors, our team of litigators use their extensive sector knowledge to help social housing providers bring judicial review claims against public bodies such as local authorities and regulatory bodies. Our judicial review services include:
- advising organisations on whether they have grounds for bringing a judicial review claim;
- supporting organisations to bring a judicial review claim by preparing the court documents and advising on evidence gathering;
- obtaining permission from the Court for an application to be made; and
- representation during judicial review court proceedings.
I was really pleased with the service that Anthony Collins Solicitors provided in this case. Helen Tucker was able to understand the various aspects to this complex case and provide technical and pragmatic advice accordingly. There were some unexpected turns in this case and Helen was able to manage changing priorities and instructions in her stride. Her successful defence of this case was hugely valuable to Viridian Housing in helping us to achieve our strategic priorities while ensuring that a vulnerable resident continued to receive appropriate care services.Matt Campion, Director of Social Impact, Viridian Housing.
Provisions within the Housing and Planning Act that remove the need for housing associations (“HAs”) to obtain consent from the Regulator to dispose of social housing (as well as to merge or enter new group structures) come into force on 6 April.
Such freedoms will allow HAs greater flexibility over how they use their assets and, potentially, how they structure their businesses. Our expert panel gathered to discuss the possible opportunities the deregulatory measures offer, together with the likely hurdles. Read the outcome of their discussion here.
Ramjeet is currently on maternity leave.
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