Regina v Monopolies and Mergers Commission, ex parte Argyll Group plc: CA 14 Mar 1986

Weighing Interest of Seeker of Judicial Review

The court recast in simpler language the provision in section 75 empowering the Secretary of State to make a merger reference to the Commission: ‘where it appears to him that it is or may be the fact that arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in the creation of a merger situation qualifying for investigation.’
The test for the issue of judicial review proceedings was set out as follows: ‘The first stage test, which is applied upon the application for leave, will lead to a refusal if the applicant has no interest whatsoever and is, in truth, no more than a meddlesome busybody. If, however, the application appears to be otherwise arguable and there is no other discretionary bar, such as dilatoriness on the part of the applicant, the applicant may expect to get leave to apply, leaving the test of interest or standing to be re-applied as a matter of discretion on the hearing of the substantive application. At this second stage, the strength of the applicant’s interest is one of the factors to be weighed in the balance.’
‘Good public administration requires decisiveness and finality, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.’

Sir John Donaldson MR, Dillon LJ, Neill LJ
[1986] 1 WLR 763, [1987] QB 815, (1986) 2 BCC 99086, [1986] EWCA Civ 8, [1986] 2 All ER 257
Senior Courts Act 1981 31(3)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedOffice of Fair Trading and others v IBA Health Limited CA 19-Feb-2004
The OFT had considered whether it was necessary to refer a merger between two companies to the Competition Commission, and decided against. The Competition Appeal Tribunal held that the proposed merger should have been referred. The OFT and parties . .
CitedBrown v HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the Executors of the Estate of and others FD 5-Jul-2007
The plaintiff sought the unsealing of the wills of the late Queen Mother and of the late Princess Margaret, claiming that these would assist him establishing that he was the illegitimate son of the latter.
Held: The application was frivolous. . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs ex Parte the World Development Movement Ltd Admn 10-Nov-1994
The Movement sought to challenge decisions of the Secretary of state to give economic aid to the Pergau Dam, saying that it was not required ‘for the purpose of promoting the development’ of Malaysia. It was said to be uneconomic and damaging. It . .
CitedRegina v Cotswold District Council and others ex parte Barrington Parish Council Admn 24-Apr-1997
The parish council sought judicial review of the district council’s planning decision. The respondents complained at the lack of promptness in the application, and suggested a lack of standing to complain. . .
CitedWalton v The Scottish Ministers SC 17-Oct-2012
The appellant, former chair of a road activist group, challenged certain roads orders saying that the respondent had not carried out the required environmental assessment. His claim was that the road had been adopted without the consultation . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commercial, Judicial Review

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.194045