The Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld) enables a person to challenge the legality of administrative decisions such as decisions made by Government Departments and agencies and Magistrates/Judges.
A Judicial review is effectively an appeal whereby a person seeks to challenge the legality of a decision, as opposed to the merits of that decision. It is essentially a review of whether the decision was made properly rather than whether the outcome was correct.
The most common grounds relied upon in Judicial Reviews are:
- That a breach of the rules of natural judges happened in relation to the making of the decision;
- That the making of the decision involved an error of law;
- That the making of the decision was an improper exercise of power; and
- That there was no evidence or other material to justify the making of the decision.
Recently, Jones + Associates made a rare application challenging administrative decisions of two Queensland Magistrates. The Judicial Review was argued on the basis that both Magistrates made errors of law in making their respective decisions.
The relevant decisions were firstly, to refuse to allow cross-examination of witnesses at committal hearing and secondly, to conduct a committal hearing and commit the matters to trial in the District Court without the defendants’ consent.
When hearing the application before the Supreme Court of Queensland, Her Honour Chief Justice Holmes accepted our argument and ultimately our application was successful. Her decisions were published and can be found at Atherton & Anor v Eaton & Ors  QSC 66.
An application for Judicial Review can be made with respect to an array of decisions including:
- Parole Bard decisions
- Decisions made by a board constituted by legislation (Eg Harness Racing Board)
- Decisions made by adjudicator pursuant to legislation (Eg Building and Constructions Industry Payments Act)
- Queensland Building and Construction Commission decisions
- Administrative decisions made by a court/tribunal
Should you be aggrieved by an administrative decision or wish to obtain advice in relation to Judicial Reviews, you should contact Criminal lawyer Brisbane on (07) 3229 3166.