What is a Judicial Review? What Powers Does it Have?

An appeal to the Court of Appeal can never be a full rehearing: it is a review of the findings made by the judge below.

1. Regardless of the appropriateness of judicial interventions, overbearing and intimidatory conduct, directed at a representative, could result in an unfair hearing as well as give the impression of bias to a fair-minded and informed observer, applying Porter v Magill [2001] UKHL 67.

2. Whilst it is, of course, always necessary for the judge to retain control of proceedings, so as to ensure that they remain focussed, effective, and efficient, it is also a key part of the judge’s role to conduct the hearing to ensure that they get the best out of all the participants appearing before them. This approach should enable the judge to do justice to the case and help to reach a high-quality decision for the parties. The task involves listening as well as guiding, and patience tempered by the need to steer the parties in the direction of the issues that the tribunal needs to decide. However carefully constructed or well-reasoned, a decision which is founded on an unfair hearing cannot stand.

3. In the event a representative raises a concern as to personal safety, this must be explored promptly, in sufficient detail and with sensitivity.

4. The inclusion of a copy of a formal complaint made about a judge with the notice of appeal is a practice which is to be deprecated. The two processes should operate separately from one another. No recourse is to be had to either the existence of or the content of a complaint against the judge in reaching a decision as to the presence of an error of law in the decision and reasons of the First-tier Tribunal.