Judicial review is the principal mechanism used by the courts to police the exercise of public law functions. This is a constitutionally important aspect of English law. It seeks to ensure that bodies exercising public law functions act lawfully and fairly and do not abuse their powers.
There are a number of common misconceptions about judicial review. It is important to be aware that:
- judicial review is not concerned with the merits of decisions. It focuses on the process by which decisions were made and actions taken;
- judicial review is not confined to reviewing the decisions of public bodies. Any party exercising a "public function" may be subject to judicial review proceedings.