This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can Judicial Review Challenge Public Limited Companies?

Question from Beth, Can Judicial Review Challenge Public Limited Companies?

Answer from AI:

Judicial review is a process in the UK legal system where courts examine the decisions of public bodies to ensure they are lawful, rational, and fair. It is important to note that judicial review typically applies to decisions made by public authorities and not private entities. However, there are instances where a public limited company (plc) may be subject to judicial review if it is exercising public functions or if its actions have public law consequences.

Criteria for Judicial Review Against Public Limited Companies

For a public limited company to be subject to judicial review, the following criteria are generally considered:

  • The company must be performing a public function.
  • The decision or action in question must have public law implications.
  • There must be an absence of alternative remedies or appeal mechanisms.

Relevant Cases

While cases of judicial review against public limited companies are not common, there are some instances where the courts have considered such actions. Here are a few examples:

  1. R (on the application of Beer) v Hampshire Farmers Market Ltd [2003]: In this case, the High Court held that a private company organizing a farmers’ market on behalf of a local authority could be subject to judicial review because it was exercising a public function.
  2. R (on the application of Agassi) v Robinson (Inspector of Taxes) [2005]: Although this case primarily dealt with a challenge to a decision by the Inland Revenue, it discussed the principles that determine whether a body is performing public functions and thus subject to judicial review.
  3. Weaver v London and Quadrant Housing Trust [2009]: The Court of Appeal found that a housing trust, although a private body, was amenable to judicial review in respect of some of its functions because it was exercising powers of a public nature.

When to Seek Legal Advice

If you believe that a public limited company’s decision or action affecting you should be challenged on public law grounds, it is crucial to seek legal advice. A legal professional can help you understand whether judicial review is an appropriate course of action and guide you through the complex legal process.


Judicial review against public limited companies in the UK is not straightforward and depends on the specific circumstances of each case. If you are considering such an action, it is recommended to consult with a solicitor who specializes in public law or judicial review proceedings. They can provide personalized advice and representation based on the latest laws and case law.

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