Tax Credits: Judicial Review

This section of the website gives some basic information about Judicial Review in tax credits cases. The material below was written by the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group.

Although there is no statutory right of appeal against HMRC’s exercise of their discretion to recover an overpayment, there is one judicial remedy – that of judicial review, exercisable by the High Court. Judicial Review is a form of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action by a public body.

One advantage of this method is that the initial threat of proceedings, or failing that an application for permission, can concentrate the mind of the defendant. Another advantage is that the procedure can be expedited so that it can work much faster than other remedies.

The drawback is that if the Department does not back down in the preliminary stages, going ahead with the procedure can be expensive for the claimant, even if funding can be obtained. It is also a specialist area where expert legal representation is required. There is a very useful basic guide to the judicial review procedure on the website of the Public Law Project.

Updated 7 May 2014
Last reviewed 9 June 2016