Judicial review—standing in environmental matters
Produced in partnership with Landmark Chambers
Judicial review—standing in environmental matters

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Landmark Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Judicial review—standing in environmental matters
  • The 'sufficient interest' test
  • Demonstrating a sufficient interest
  • A relaxed approach?
  • Limits to the courts’ exercise of discretion?
  • Walton an 'extra hurdle'?
  • Claimants and funding
  • Claimants and funding

The 'sufficient interest' test

The court must not grant permission to apply for judicial review unless the applicant has a 'sufficient interest' (ie standing) in the matter to which the application relates.

In general, the court takes a very broad approach to standing and it is unusual for a claim to fail on this issue. However, not every member of public can complain about every potential breach of duty by a public body.

To determine whether an applicant has sufficient interest, the court must look at the substance of the case, including:

  1. the powers and duties of the respondent

  2. the position of the applicant in relation to those powers or duties and to the alleged breach, eg was the applicant involved in the original decision making process?

  3. the remedy sought by the claimant

Therefore, standing is not treated as an isolated issue and is taken within the legal and factual context. Moreover, standing is not a matter which is considered only at the permission stage of judicial review proceedings: it can also be considered by the court at the substantive stage.

Demonstrating a sufficient interest

'Sufficient interest' is in practice a broad, flexible concept and involves a mixed question of fact and law. It depends on consideration of the relationship between the claimant and the matter to which the claim relates, having regard to all relevant circumstances. In appropriate cases,

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