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High Court Judicial Review

When a person feels that government authority, such as a minister, the local council or a statutory tribunal, has exercised their powers in an unlawful manner and has perhaps violated his or her rights, may apply to the High Court Civil division for judicial review of the decision. The applicant can seek orders to set aside the decision and obtain possible remedies.

The type of application for Judicial Review is as follows:

  • Mandamus;
  • Prohibition;
  • Certiorari

Procedural requirements

All applications for judicial review will only be admissible if leave for judicial review is obtained from the High Court. The High Court has supervisory jurisdiction over public authorities and tribunals on legislative and executive actions. Leave for judicial review may be refused on the following conditions:

  • The application is not made promptly;
  • The application does not contain sufficient information which constitutes interest by the applicant (Locus Standi) in respect to the matter;
  • The application is not concerned with a public law matter, i.e. the action must be based on some rule of public law, not purely tort or contract.

Grounds for review

The grounds for Judicial Review are as follows:

  • Illegality;
  • Irrationality (Unreasonableness);
  • Procedural impropriety

The first two mentioned grounds, Illegality and Irrationality are known as substantive grounds of judicial review. The reason for it to be called as substantive ground of review is that the review is mainly concerned with the disputed decision. On the other hand, Procedural impropriety is a matter concerned on procedural grounds. It focuses on the procedure used in decision-making and not the content of the decision itself.

Types of remedies sought in Judicial Review

The following are some of the remedies available in proceedings for judicial review:

  • Quashing order;
  • Prohibiting order;
  • Mandatory order;
  • Declaration;
  • Injunction;
  • Damages

In any case the affected party can seek any amount of remedies; however the discretion is on the Court to award the remedies to the affected party.

The type of application to be filed is provided for under Order 53 Rule 1.

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Media Release

Keynote Address by Chief Justice Anthony Gates
at the Opening of the Fiji Law Society's Convention
"Fundamentals of Private Practice" 25th September 2015,
Novotel, Suva

Click here to view/download the speech.