The House sought to reconcile section 31 of the 1981 Act, with RSC Order 53 r4 as to the time within which judicial review proceedings must be brought.
Held: Whenever there was a failure to act promptly or within three months there was ‘undue delay’ within the meaning of section 31(6).
Lord Goff said: ‘as I read rule 4(1), the effect of the rule is to limit the time within which an application for leave to apply for judicial review may be made in accordance with its terms, i.e. promptly and in any event within three months. The court has however power to grant leave to apply despite the fact that an application is late, if it considers that there is good reason to exercise that power; this it does by extending the period. This, as I understand it, is the reasoning upon which the Court of Appeal reached its conclusion in Reg. v. Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Ex parte Jackson . Furthermore, the combined effect of section 31(7) and of rule 4(1) is that there is undue delay for the purposes of section 31(6) whenever the application for leave to apply is not made promptly and in any event within three months from the relevant date. It follows that, when an application for leave to apply is not made promptly and in any event within three months, the court may refuse leave on the ground of delay unless it considers that there is good reason for extending the period; but, even if it considers that there is such good reason, it may still refuse leave (or, where leave has been granted, substantive relief) if in its opinion the granting of the relief sought would be likely to cause hardship or prejudice (as specified in section 31(6)) or would be detrimental to good administration. I imagine that, on an ex parte application for leave to apply before a single judge, the question most likely to be considered by him, if there has been such delay, is whether there is good reason for extending the period under rule 4(1). Questions of hardship or prejudice, or detriment, under section 31(6) are, I imagine, unlikely to arise on an ex parte application, when the necessary material would in all probability not be available to the judge. Such questions could arise on a contested application for leave to apply, as indeed they did in Reg. v. Stratford-on-Avon District Council, Ex parte Jackson ; but even then, as in that case, it may be thought better to grant leave where there is considered to be good reason to extend the period under rule 4(1), leaving questions arising under section 31(6) to be explored in depth on the hearing of the substantive application. In this way, I believe, sensible effect can be given to these two provisions, without doing violence to the language of either. Unlike the Court of Appeal, I do not consider that rule 4(3) and section 31(7) lead to a circulus inextricabilis, because 31(6) does not limit ‘the time within which an application for judicial review may be made’ (the words used in rule 4(3)). Section 31(6) simply contains particular grounds for refusing leave or substantive relief, not referred to in rule 4(1), to which the court is bound to give effect, independently of any rule of court.’
 2 WLR 1320,  2 AC 738,  UKHL 5,  2 All ER 434
Supreme Court Act 1981 31
England and Wales
Cited – Regina v Criminal Injuries Compensation Board Ex Parte A HL 11-Mar-1999
A police doctor’s statement in a contemporary medical report that her findings were consistent with the claimant’s allegation had not been included in the evidence before the CICB when it rejected her claim for compensation.
Held: The decision . .
Cited – Quintavalle and Another, Regina (on the Application of) v Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Admn 9-Dec-2008
The claimants wished to challenge licensing decisions made by the respondent, and for a protective costs order. . .
Cited – Adamson and Others v Paddico (267) Ltd SC 5-Feb-2014
Land had been registered as a town or village green but wrongly so. The claimant had sought rectification, but the respondents argued that the long time elapsed after registration should defeat the request.
Held: The appeal were solely as to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Judicial Review, Agriculture
Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.216415