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 review must be filed within 30 days.