Types of cases

The Administrative Court deals with:

  • Judicial review - of decisions of inferior courts and tribunals, public bodies and persons exercising a public function. Criminal cases may arise from decisions of magistrates' courts or the Crown Court when it is acting in its appellate capacity.
  • Statutory appeals and applications - the right given by certain statutes to challenge decisions of e.g. Ministers, Local Government, Tribunals.
  • Appeals by way of case stated - appeals against decisions of magistrates' courts and the Crown Court (predominantly criminal cases)
  • Applications for habeas corpus
  • Applications for committal for contempt
  • Applications for an order preventing a vexatious litigant from instituting or continuing proceedings without the leave of a judge
  • Applications under the Coroners Act 1988


Some matters are required by statute or rules of Court to be heard by a Divisional Court  (ie a court of two or more judges):

  • Applications for committal for contempt where the contempt (a) is committed in connection with (i) proceedings before a Q.B. Divisional Court, (ii) criminal proceedings (except where it is in the face of the court or disobedience to an order), (iii) proceedings in an inferior court or (b) is committed otherwise than in any proceedings
  • Appeals from the Law Society Disciplinary Tribunal. Such appeals are heard by a three judge court unless the Lord Chief Justice otherwise directs. By convention these appeals are heard by a Court presided over by the Lord Chief Justice
  • Applications under s.13 of the Coroners Act 1988 (with fiat of the Attorney General)
  •  Applications for vexatious litigant orders under s.42 of the Senior Courts Act 1981
  • Applications relating to parliamentary and local government elections under the Representation of the People Acts (unless exercisable by a single judge by express statutory provision).

Others can be and usually are heard by a Divisional Court:

  •  Applications for judicial review in a criminal cause or matter;
  •  Applications for leave to apply for judicial review in a criminal cause or matter, after refusal by a single judge (whether on paper or after oral argument);
  • Appeals by way of case stated in a criminal cause or matter, whether from the Crown Court or from a magistrates court;

The remaining matters in the Administrative Court List will generally be heard by a single judge.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service


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