Administrative Law

The regulatory and legal environment has become increasingly complex, where public law decisions impacting on private rights are under constant review.

Lavelle advises government agencies and public bodies on their statutory remit, powers and functions and provides legal services within that matrix, as well as representing them in Judicial Review proceedings.

Common elements of concern for statutory bodies are complying with statutory requirements, making proportional decisions pursuant to the rules of natural justice, following fair procedures, striking a balance and ensuring all public decisions are proper. Some bodies have a prosecutorial function which sees them enforcing their statutory obligations through the Courts. Other concerns are generally complying with Data Protection, Freedom of Information, public procurement and strategic advice, as well as corporate social responsibility and reporting to their overseeing Minister.

Lavelle has a specialised team of solicitors with extensive experience in acting for corporate and personal clients bringing Judicial Review Proceedings in the High Court. Judicial Review is a procedure in which the Courts provide remedies against the abuse of the executive power of the State and public bodies.

Individuals may require expert advice on challenging a decision made by a public authority or agency and Lavelle understands the most effective means to achieve this as well as the implications of the decision on your business or interests.

A person who feels that a decision of a public authority, such as a government minister, the District or Circuit Court, a semi-state body, the local council or a statutory tribunal has violated his or her rights, may apply to the High Court for Judicial Review of the decision. In looking at the decision the courts are principally concerned about the manner in which the decision-making person or body has exercised the relevant power in making the decision, rather than the merits of the decision itself. It is not an appeal process and the court does not substitute its opinion for that of the public authority. The outcome of a Judicial Review is usually that the decision made by the public authority stands or is set aside.

There are two stages in proceedings for Judicial Review; firstly leave to apply for Judicial Review (ex parte) and secondly, where leave is granted, the substantial application is heard.

Public decisions may be judicially reviewed by the High Court to determine whether they are unconstitutional or illegal. Some examples of public decisions include:

  • Decisions of Tribunals
  • Decisions of Local Councils
  • Decisions of the Financial Services Ombudsman
  • Decisions by a professional regulatory authority such as An Board Altranais, the Medical Council and the Law Society
  • Decisions of Government Departments
  • Decisions of the District and Circuit Courts
  • Decisions of the Planning Authority

Many clients, both corporate and personal, are encountering difficulties with public bodies and we can advise and if necessary, issue Judicial Review proceedings. Lavelle’s dedicated team of Judicial Review lawyers regularly advise on Judicial Review proceedings and have a successful track record in having decisions set aside.

Lavelle has also acted for individuals at public inquiries and tribunals, as well as statutory compensation schemes.

Contact Marc Fitzgibbon

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