In the two years since Rules and Government was written soft laws have neither diminished in governmental importance nor escaped attention from commentators. A number of decisions and publications have emerged and the attention of readers should be drawn to some of the most significant of these.
Of recent court decisions, mention should be made of those relating to pressure groups and their potential influence in rulemaking processes (see pp. 73-4 infra). A newly flexible approach to standing has been demonstrated. Thus, in R. v H.M. Inspectorate of Pollution, ex.p Greenpeace Ltd (No 2) [ 1994] 4 All ER 239, Otton, J. declined to follow the Rose Theatre case (noted at page 73infra) and decided that Greenpeace was entitled to challenge the Secretary of State's decision as to the discharge and disposal of radioactive waste at Sellafield. Stress was placed on Greenpeace's being well-qualified to make the application.
Certain individual members of Greenpeace, who lived in Cumbria, would have been directly affected by the proposed activity at Sellafield, but in a further liberalising court decision there was no set of individual members' interests to point to. In the Pergau. Dam case, R. v Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, ex.p World Development Movement Ltd [ 1995] 1 W.L.R. 386, the Divisional Court held that the WDM had sufficient interest to apply for judicial review, referring to the merits of the application; the importance of vindicating the rule of law; the importance of the issue raised; the likely absence of any other challenger; the nature of the breach of duty against which relief was sought; and the prominent role of the WDM in giving advice, guidance and assistance on these matters. There is thus growing evidence that the judges will relax the rules of standing to give pressure groups an increasing role as monitors of governmental rule and decision-making.
This approach accords with that of the Law Commission's 1994 report (Law.Com.No.226) and proposals therein that the