UCL Faculty of Laws


Judicial Review (LAWS0243)

This Module is an in-depth and contextual examination of significant and cutting edge issues in judicial review.

This module addresses a selection of the most significant and cutting edge issues in the subject in the light of the broader historical dynamics and consideration of the different objectives and functions of judicial review. Adopting England and Wales as its ‘home’ jurisdiction, the module looks generally at the common law, including in terms of constitutional rights, and at key aspects (in the language of the Human Rights Act 1998) of ‘Convention Rights’, of the Equality Act 2010, and (in the wake of Brexit) of the legacy of European Union Law. The module further considers the interplay (or not) of these different sources of jurisdiction, also factoring in elements of Public International Law. In examining issues of judicial review process and impact, we also engage with successive bouts of legislative and administrative reform of the judicial review system. 

The module naturally involves careful consideration of the constitutional role of the judiciary, a familiar topic of debate in many jurisdictions. Importantly, the subject will take a contextual approach, placing judicial review principles in the context of the administrative processes they are designed to regulate, for example with reference to digitisation and the development of artificial intelligence. As well as to UK lawyers, the module should be of interest to students from many other jurisdictions both around the common law ‘globe’ and elsewhere. 

Module Syllabus

The course content changes from year to year to reflect contemporary developments. The following is a provisional outline (particular seminar topics may be added or subtracted):

Part I: Framework – sources and dynamics

Seminar 1. Introduction; definition and functions

Seminar 2. Modelling judicial review

Seminar 3 Transforming judicial review

Seminar 4. Common law dimension – contemporary perspective

Seminar 5. Convention rights  – Strasbourg and the domestic courts

Seminar 6. EU legacy

Part II: Procedural review

Seminar 7. Procedural review and the challenge of contextualism

Seminar 8. Procedural review – reason-giving and consultation

Seminar 9 Bias, impartiality and independence

Seminar 10. Structural procedural review


Part III: Legality, process and substance

Seminar 11. Model of rationality: the common law ‘umbrella’

Seminar 12. Legality, unreasonableness and proportionality (1)

Seminar 13. Legality, unreasonableness and proportionality (2)

Seminar 14. Law, policy and administrative process

Seminar 15. System check

Seminar 16. Equality and discrimination case-study

Part IV: Judicial Review – Structures, Processes and Effects

Seminar 17. Application for Judicial Review: standing, intervention and disclosure

Seminar 18. Remedies and patterns of judicial review

Seminar 19. Impact? Striking back and clamping down

Seminar 20. Overview, updating and revision

Recommended Materials

You must have access to:

  • C. Harlow and R. Rawlings, Law and Administration, 4th edn, CUP, 2021; and
  • M. Elliott and J. Varuhas, Administrative Law, 5th edn, OUP, 2017.

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages in the usual way

Preliminary Reading

For an introduction to the historical development, see:

  • C. Harlow and R. Rawlings, Law and Administration, 4th edn, Cambridge University Press, 2021, Chapter 4 (‘Transforming judicial review’).

Key information

Module details
Credit value:45 Credits (450 learning hours)
Convenor:Professor Rick Rawlings
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:Face to Face Seminar
Who may enrol:LLM Students Only


Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:
  • LLM in Public Law;
  • LLM in Environmental Law and Policy;
  • LLM in Human Rights Law;
  • LLM in Law and Social Justice
  • LLM in Law and Social Justice
Practice Assessment:TBD
Final Assessment:

2 Hour Timed Online Examination (50%)

5,000 Word Essay (50%)