Can I judicially review a decision of the Care Quality Commission ('CQC')?

The CQC is a public body and is therefore subject to judicial review if;

  • The decision or act is public in nature;
  • You have a 'sufficient interest' in the decision, act or omission;
  • You can satisfy one of the grounds for challenging the decision, act or omission;
  • You have exhausted internal procedures and/or alternative remedies; and
  • You are within the applicable time limits

Do I have a 'sufficient interest' to bring a claim?

In order to bring a claim for Judicial Review you need to show that you have a 'sufficient interest' in the subject matter of the decision you are seeking to challenge. As a service provider and proprietor of a Care Home which is the subject of a decision made by the CQC, such as a rating following an inspection, you would have sufficient interest to bring a claim.

What are the grounds for judicial review?

The grounds for reviewing a decision or act of a public body are:

  • Illegality – the CQC has acted outside the law governing the action in question
  • Procedural unfairness – the CQC has not followed the proper procedures
  • Irrationality – the decision was unreasonable (so unreasonable that no reasonable person could have reached it)
  • Material considerations – the CQC did not take into account relevant information or took into account irrelevant information when making its decision
  • Legitimate expectations – the CQC has departed from previous assurances it has given that it would act in a certain way
  • Mistake of fact – a CQC inspector may have incorrectly recorded facts during an inspection
  • Proportionality – in claims involving human rights or European Law it may be necessary to decide whether an act or decision was proportionate to a legitimate aim.
  • Reasons - there is no general obligation on a public body to give reasons for a decision, however, in certain cases an obligation to give reasons may be imposed by legislation, governmental guidance, or common law.

The court will not interfere with the act or decision of a public body merely because it disagrees with or has doubts about the quality or merits of a particular decision. It is necessary for a Claimant to demonstrate a legal flaw.

Am I within time?

There are strict time limits which apply to Judicial Review:

  • A claim for Judicial Review should be filed promptly and in any event within 3 months from the date the grounds to make a claim first arose. This is usually the date of the decision you wish to challenge.
  • A claim for certain procurement Judicial Reviews must be filed within 30 days

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.