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R v Environment Secretary, ex parte Rose Theatre Trust

[1990] 1 QB 504

Case summary last updated at 08/01/2020 14:24 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case R v Environment Secretary, ex parte Rose Theatre Trust

A pressure group was deemed not to have standing to contest a ministerial decision to list a site as a protected ancient monument. In this case it was held that the Rose Theatre Trust was not a representative of its members, but was a group formed specifically to contest a ministerial decision. In other words, the group did not have any better standing than any of its members and an ordinary member of the public did not have the locus standi to challenge the decision. This seems an especially regressive decision and contradicts the movement towards an open system demonstrated in Sedley, where an ordinary person could bring a challenge
Schiemann J: “It would be absurd if two people, neither of whom had standing could, by an appropriately worded memorandum, incorporate themselves into a company which thereby obtained standing… I do not consider that an interested member of the public who has written and received a reply in relation to a decision…has sufficient interest.” He stated some guiding principles of the issue of locus standi: (1) Once leave for JR has been granted the court still ought to question locus; (2) It isn’t purely a matter of court’s discretion; (3) Not every member of the public can complain of breach of a public law duty lest the phrase “sufficient interest” lose all meaning; (4) A direct financial or legal interest is not required; (5) Where statutory duty is concerned it is useful to look at the statute to see whether it gives an applicant a right enabling him to have that duty performed; (6) Merely to assert that one has an interest does not give one an interest. 
(7) The fact that some thousands of people join together and assert that they have an interest does not create an interest if the individuals did not have an interest. (8) The fact that those without an interest incorporate themselves and give the company in its memorandum power to pursue a particular object does not give the company an interest. 

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