R (Good Law Project Ltd and Ors) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

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16.32This case1 consisted of a challenge to certain procurement decisions, brought by an NGO and three MPs. The Government argued that as none of the claimants had a direct interest in the decision, none had standing. The court held that the NGO had standing since a claimant may have standing to challenge an individual procurement decision if:

  1. despite not being an economic operator, he “has a sufficient interest in compliance with the public procurement regime in the sense that he is affected in some identifiable way by the challenged decision” (for example, because compliance “might have led to a different outcome that would have had a direct impact on him”); or
  2. “the gravity of a departure from public law obligations” justifies the grant of a public law remedy”’.2

but held that the MPs did not, as there was another claimant with better standing. The court noted:

‘[…] No doubt, the addition of politicians as parties may raise the profile of the litigation. It may make it easier to raise funds. But these are not proper reasons for adding parties. In a case where there is already a claimant with standing, the addition of politicians as claimants may leave the public with the impression that the proceedings are an attempt to advance a political cause, when in fact their sole legitimate function is to determine an arguable allegation of unlawful conduct.’3

Footnotes

  1. 1. [2021] EWHC 346 (Admin).
  2. 2. Ibid, para 99.
  3. 3. Ibid, para 107.