Is it time to ask the High Court for a judicial review?

Quinn Legal Services

Many Oilers have queried whether the decision by the Prime Minister to say ?There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted? can be challenged in any way.

It seems that there may be a possible process and that is a Judicial review. Quote:

In a judicial review proceeding a judge is asked to review the actions or decisions of a public or private administrative body (including the Executive branch of Government) to see whether they acted within the powers given to them by the law.

If you bring a judicial review proceeding you are the applicant, and the administrative body whose actions are being reviewed is called the respondent.

Only a person affected by a decision can apply for a judicial review. You can ask for a review of the process used to reach the decision, or because you think the decision-maker did not act within the law or the decision was unreasonable.

If your application is successful the body that made the decision will be asked to reconsider their decision.

There may be a time limit for applying for a judicial review. For more information, you should check the legislation governing the public or private administrative body being reviewed. End of quote.

So, it would appear that the courts can set aside ministerial decisions by way of judicial review.? But this review is strictly limited to decisions?and not policy.

There has to be an actual decision made by the government or a minister, a decision that affects private rights, for example, the withdrawal of a mining licence or other privileges granted by the government.

Courts will strike down a decision:

  • made in breach of the law e.g. some statute or regulation governing the matter, or
  • that is procedurally unfair ? i.e. failure to hear both sides,
  • with conflict by having a personal interest involved, usually a financial interest or
  • being what judges (but not politicians) call ?irrational? i.e. is a decision that no reasonable minister properly instructed on the facts could rationally make.

The court will not intrude into a policy which they say is outside their jurisdiction, for example, an announcement of what government intends to do in the future.

So have our personal rights to future energy security been affected enough to file proceedings?

Applying for a judicial review requires a filing fee of $1350 and some legal expertise.

Declaration: I once attended a University that had a Law School somewhere on campus and I can spell the word “law”.