Case number: CO/667/2023
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
Deputy Chamber President Judge Tudur sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
The King on the application of
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman
Royal Borough of Greenwich (Interested party)
Notification of the Judge’s decision on the application for permission to apply for judicial review (CPR 54.11, 54.12)
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and the Acknowledgement of Service filed by the Defendant
ORDER by Deputy Chamber President Judge Tudur sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge
- Pursuant to CPR rule 39.2(4) there shall not be disclosed in any report of the proceedings the name of the child referred to in the proceedings or any details leading to his identification. If referred to, the child shall only be referred to as ‘Child A’.
- The application for extension of time to make a claim is refused.
- The application for permission is refused.
- The costs of preparing the Acknowledgement of Service are to be paid by the Claimant to the Defendant, summarily assessed in the sum of £1,000.
- Paragraph 2 above is a final costs order unless within 14 days of the date of this Order the Claimant files with the Court and serves on the Defendant a notice of objection setting out the reasons why he should not be required to pay costs (either as required by the costs order, or at all). If the Claimant files and serves notice of objection, the Defendant may, within 14 days of the date it is served, file and serve submissions in response. The Claimant may, within 7 days of the date on which the Defendant’s response is served, file and serve submissions in reply.
- The directions at paragraph 3 apply whether or not the Claimant seeks reconsideration of the decision to refuse permission to apply for judicial review.
(a) If an application for reconsideration is made, the Judge who hears that application will consider the written representations filed pursuant to paragraph 3 above together with such further oral submissions as may be permitted, and decide what costs order if any, should be made.
(b) If no application for reconsideration is made or if an application is made but withdrawn, the written representations filed pursuant to paragraph 3 above will be referred to a Judge and what order for costs if any, should be made will be decided without further hearing.
- The Claimant sought to challenge the decision of the Defendant made on the 15 November 2022 not to conduct a review of its final decision in respect of the Claimant’s complaint against the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council’s decision to suspend or withdraw an Adoption Allowance previously awarded to the Claimant. The application was initially signed by the Claimant on the 13 February 2023 but the claim form wrongly identified the date of the impugned decision and was returned to the Claimant. It was resubmitted and received in the Administrative Court Office on the 20 February 2023 and issued for service on the 21 February 2023.
- The supporting documentation submitted with the claim form identifies by name the child in respect of whom the payment of Adoption Allowance was made and it is appropriate that an anonymity order should be made pursuant to CPR 39.2(4).
- Claims of judicial review should be made promptly and not later than three months after the date of the impugned decision. The need for procedural rigour is emphasised in relation to such claims and application should be made at the earliest stage possible. Further, the Claimant did not engage in the Pre-Action Protocol procedure providing an opportunity for the Defendant to address the issues raised and even so, did not submit the claim promptly.
- Although the Claimant has explained the short delay in resubmitting the claim having amended the date of the impugned decision on the claim form, he has not provided any explanation for the delay in submitting the claim until the end of the three-month deadline. I conclude that the claim is out of time having been issued after the expiry of the three-month deadline and the Claimant has not justified the request for an extension of time.
- In considering whether to extend time, I have taken into consideration the merits of the claim and conclude that the grounds of claim are in any event, not arguable.
- The claim has not identified relevant grounds for challenging the decision not to review the Defendant’s complaint report. The focus is instead on a challenge to the reasonableness of the original decision in respect of the complaint and the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council’s decision to suspend the payment of the Adoption Allowance, both of which are out of time for challenge.
- The second ground raises issues which are not relevant considerations in the context of the request to review the Defendant’s decision and is not arguable.
- The third ground raises an issue which is not relevant to the decision made not to review the final decision and is not arguable.