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Judicial Review


A judge (or several judges) presides over court hearings.

In a jury trial, a judge is responsible for impartially managing proceedings and providing any necessary directions/rulings on the law. In a non-jury trial a judge will also make a factual determination.

A judge (or several judges) will determine an appeal, application or any other interim matter.
Prior to sitting as a judge, judges will have practised law as a barrister or a solicitor.

There are many different types of judges including: deputy district judges, district judges (criminal and civil), recorders, circuit judges, and high court judges, court of appeal judges and justices of the Supreme Court. The type of judge who hears a case will depend on the type of case and/or the venue of the case.


A judgment is a formal decision of a court.


A claimant may apply for a judgment-in-default when a defendant fails to file/serve a Defence within the specified time period.

A judgment-in-default can be enforced in the same way as a normal judgment.

A defendant can make an application to apply for a judgment-in-default to be set aside.

Judicial Review

An application for judicial review is the process of asking the Administrative Court to rule on the lawfulness of a public body's decision. A decision may be deemed unlawful if:-

  1. It was irrational
  2. It was illegal ("ultra vires")
  3. There was a procedural impropriety in the decision-making process.

The definition of a public body has changed somewhat over the years, but broadly speaking the target of a judicial review should be the state or an "emanation of the state". For example, courts can be judicially reviewed, as can NHS trusts and local authorities. A private group can not normally be subject to judicial review as judicial review is public law remedy, not a private law one.

An application for a judicial review is subject to strict time limits (normally three months from the date of the decision) and an applicant (strictly a claimant, as judicial review is a civil action) must show that he has sufficient interest in the matter to make an application (known as "locus standi").

The Administrative Court may quash the decision under review and/or make mandatory or prohibitory orders directing the public body to act in a certain way. In some circumstances, damages may also be awarded.

The purpose of judicial review is to ensure that branches of the executive do not exceed/abuse their prescribed power. A judicial review should not be confused with an appeal and, specifically in relation to reviews citing "irrationality", the Administrative Court will not interfere with a decision of a body simply because it was "unreasonable"; it will have to be wholly unreasonable.


A jury is a panel of citizens selected at random (from the local community) to determine the facts of a case at trial. A jury's determination, assuming it can reach a verdict, is manifested in either a verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty".

A criminal jury contains 12 members. The jury will be directed on the law by a judge, but is required to reach its decision in private.

A unanimous verdict is required (i.e. all members of the jury finding the defendant guilty or not guilty), although if this cannot be reached then after a period of time the judge may make a direction that he/she will accept a "majority direction". This means that the judge will accept a verdict if 10 out 12 members of the jury agree (9 if the jury has been reduced). If a decision still cannot be reached then there will be a "hung jury" and the jury will be discharged. A retrial may take place with a different jury.

All matters tried in the crown court are normally subject to a jury trial. It is now possible in certain limited circumstances (e.g. where there is a suggestion that there has been interference with a previous jury) for a crown court trial to take place without a jury; the first such direction was made in 2009. Trials in the magistrates' court do not involve a jury.

A very small number of civil trials are also tried by a jury (for example some cases involving police misconduct, libel or fraud). A coroner's court may also in certain circumstances impanel a jury. Civil juries are made up of only 10 members.