If your application for a visa or to naturalise as a British citizen has been refused without a right of appeal or, if your leave has been curtailed, you may need to submit an application for permission to bring judicial review proceedings. Judicial review applications are either submitted in the Upper Tribunal or High Court depending on the nature of the claim. SMA is here to help you with every aspect of the judicial review claim.

Applications for judicial review are a complex process which can broadly be summarised as follows:


Letter before action / pre-action letter – Before you begin an application for judicial review, you must submit a letter before action. This is a letter giving the Home Office a reasonable amount of time (usually 14 days) to respond and to change their decision. A letter before action is an extremely important document as, if done correctly, it could save you both the time and money involving in bringing a judicial review claim. Our detailed letters before action / pre-action letters often lead to the Home Office agreeing to reconsider their decision without having to go to judicial review proceedings. If you claim does proceed to court, the judge will often look at the letter before action in your case to decide it you should be entitled to your costs.


Judicial review application on the papers – A judicial review applications requires permission from the Court or Tribunal. The judge reading your case will need to be persuaded that your case is arguable. It is important that your grounds for judicial review are drafted carefully, properly explain your case and raise the relevant objections. At this stage, the judge will not be speaking to your, us or your barrister and so the grounds that we draft on your behalf will be your “voice” in the case.


Renewed judicial review application – If a judge does not grant you permission to bring judicial review proceedings on the papers, the next stage in your case may be that you ask the court / tribunal for a hearing where you can explain your case. This is your second chance to ask for permission. SMA Solicitors works with a specialist team of barristers that specialise in judicial review cases who will represent you at your judicial review permission hearing. Judicial review permission hearings are intense but provide you with an opportunity, through your barrister, to interact with the judge, explain your case in detail and answer any questions that the judge may have.


Substantive judicial review hearing – If you are granted permission to bring judicial review proceedings, either on the papers or at a permission hearing, the next stage in the case will be that the court will now have a “substantive hearing”. Substantive hearings are where the judge will hear detailed arguments and examine all of the evidence put forward in your case in considerable detail. Again, we will work very closely with you and your barrister throughout this entire process to ensure that your case and evidence are put before the judge in a way that gives your case the best possible chances of winning.


Consent orders – Whilst the judicial review process may seem long and daunting, it is common that the Home Office will issue a consent order if they review the case and believe that they may lose because there is an error in their decision or the process they used. A consent order could follow immediately after you file a judicial review claim, after permission is granted at the renewal hearing or any time before the substantive hearing. Again, the better presented your case is, the higher the chances that the Home Office will offer to reconsider your cases.


Costs – judicial review applications apply the costs principle by which the winning party is entitled to recover its costs from the other party. However, in order for you to recover your legal costs from the other side, it is extremely important that your case is properly prepared. A badly put together case can lead to you being penalised at the costs stage, even if you win.

How SMA Law Can Help?

Our expertise extends beyond legal representation; we strive to empower individuals facing judicial reviews by advocating for their rights, offering strategic advice, and meticulously preparing their cases. We aim to navigate the legal complexities and provide reassurance and clarity throughout the process.

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