Our articles

Public Law & Community Care, including Judicial Review

judicial review

If you are a carer, or care for someone, then this is for you. When you depend on accessing community care and services on a daily basis and you lose it, things can go badly wrong. You can be left at risk, vulnerable and alone and often unaware of your rights. Find out here what you can do, how to get help and about Judicial Reviews.

Irwin Mitchell have very kindly helped Sky Badger put these legal guides together. You can find them as well as lots of other organisations and charities specialising in legal advice at the bottom of this page.

What’s gone wrong?

Public bodies such as Local Authorities and health organisations make important decisions about the lives of vulnerable people and their access to services. Sometimes these decisions are unlawful and may need to be challenged. Sometimes the bodies delay making a decision or do not reply at all and this may also need to be challenged.

This might include some of the following things…

• Failure to carry out a community care assessment
• Failure to provide a suitable level of care following an assessment
• Withdrawal or reduction of a previous level of care
• Closure of care facilities such as day centres, respite centres, care homes or transport services
• Rights to welfare services, such as help with personal care
• Services to enable people to remain in their own homes
• Access to aids and adaptations in the home
• Direct payments and personal budgets
• Support for people on discharge from hospital, or to help safe discharge take place
• Incontinence services
• Wheelchair services
• Support to help people to access the community
• Challenges to closure of care homes and hospitals

This can also include Disputes between local authorities and NHS agencies about funding for care, including NHS continuing care.

What do I do next?

If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you can seek assistance or advice about steps you can take to challenge the decision. You can seek advice as a disabled person, a carer or a family member of a disabled child or adult. How to challenge the decision will depend on the type of decision made and the type of public body that has made the decision – so it is important to get good quality advice. You may need to make a formal complaint, start an appeal process, or start a Judicial review claim.

What is a Judicial Review?

Judicial review is the legal process used to hold public bodies to account and to challenge unlawful decisions. There are very strict time limits for bringing a challenge so it is important to seek advice as soon as possible if you think that an unlawful decision has been made.


A claim should be issued in court promptly and within 3 months of the decision, and before that your solicitor would write to the decision maker to set out details of the claim and wait for a response. So, you may need to get advice and legal representation fast.

This is a complicated process that solicitors can support you with in bringing cases on behalf of vulnerable disabled people to enforce their legal rights. You usually find that most cases can be resolved before going to court once other options and routes are explored. Judicial review should only be used as a last option.

Legal Aid may be available for advice and assistance.


Use our directory to find lots of charities and firms that can give you legal advice.

Looking for something else?

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)


Find extra help at school, information about Education, Health, Care Plans (EHCP), apps & programmes, tech and IT for supporting learning and sensory activities.

disabled holidays uk

Holidays & Free time

Find holidays, sports, free cinema tickets, theatre, clubs, art, dance, music, days out, make a wish charities and more.


Useful technology & kit

Find sensory toys, useful technology, trikes and bikes, wheelchairs & mobility.

disabled grants


Find grants, governemnt benefits and help with your utility and council tax bills.


Legal stuff

Find out about disability rights, educational and medical law and how to find a specialist advocate or lawyer.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Medical stuff

Find information about your child's medical condition, medicines that they take and mental health support.

Not sure where to turn?


Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.