Regina v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ex parte World Development Movement Ltd: QBD 1995

A British consortium looked for assistance in providing a hydro-electric project on the Pergau river. One interested government department advised that it was not economical and an abuse of the overseas aid programme, but the respondent decided to approve support. The applicants, a pressure group involved in giving advice and assistance on issues of aid, requested an assurance that no further assistance would be granted, and sought a judicial review of the respondent to provide that reassurance. The respondent challenged their standing to seek judicial review.
Held: The question of standing had to be settled only in the context and merits of the case as a whole. It was not merely a preliminary issue. The importance of vindicating the rule of law, the absence of any other likely interested party, and of the issue in general required the application to proceed. It was for the court to decide whether particular actions fell within the purpose of the Act, but once it did, it was for the respondent to weigh the various factors. In this case the Act required assistance to be given to economically sound projects, but no evidence to support that purpose was available and the respondent’s decision was unlawful.
The court identified five considerations which militated towards the court’s decision that the applicants had a sufficient interest to challenge the lawfulness of this expenditure: i) The importance of vindicating the rule of law; ii) The importance of the issue raised; iii) The likely absence of any other responsible challenger; iv) The nature of the breach of duty against which relief was sought; v) The prominent role of the applicants in giving advice, guidance and assistance with regard to aid.


Rose LJ, Dillon LJ, McCowan LJ


[1995] 1 WLR 386, [1995] 1 ALL ER 611


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Social Services, Ex parte Child Poverty Action Group CA 1989
The applicants sought judicial review of the failures by the respondent in processing claims for benefits. They asked that there should be a declaration that the respondent had a duty to refer a claim to an adjudication officer as soon as it was . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs ex parte Rees-Mogg Admn 30-Jul-1993
The applicant, a former editor of the Times, sought judicial review of the decision by the respondent to ratify the EU Treaty (Maastricht), saying that it would increase the powers of the European Parliament without it having been approved by . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Environment ex parte Islington London Borough Council CA 1991
Dillon LJ said as to practice within judicial review proceedings: ‘The . . argument is stated to have been that an applicant is not entitled to go behind an affidavit in order to seek to ascertain whether it is correct or not unless there is some . .

Cited by:

CitedCorner House Research, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry CA 1-Mar-2005
The applicant sought to bring an action to challenge new rules on approval of export credit guarantees. The company was non-profit and founded to support investigation of bribery. It had applied for a protected costs order to support the . .
MentionedRegina (Smeaton) v Secretary of State for Health and Others Admn 18-Apr-2002
The claimant challenged the Order as regards the prescription of the morning-after pill, asserting that the pill would cause miscarriages, and that therefore the use would be an offence under the 1861 Act.
Held: ‘SPUC’s case is that any . .
CitedRegina (Howard League for Penal Reform) v Secretary of State for the Home Department QBD 29-Nov-2002
The League challenged the respondent’s statement in the Prisons’ Handbook that children held in young offender institutions were not subject to the protection of the 1989 Act.
Held: Neither the Prison Act and Rules excluded the Prison . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Judicial Review, Costs

Updated: 05 April 2022; Ref: scu.222184