Delay and judicial review proceedings

A major legal action by Greenpeace challenging the legality of the Government's award of a new tranche of oil exploration licences in the North Atlantic has been stopped by the courts on the grounds of delay in bringing proceedings. The decision of Mr Justice Laws (R v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry ex parte Greenpeace, High Court, 14 October 1997) emphasises the need to act speedily in environmental cases, especially where third party rights are concerned, and the judgment contains important issues of principle which will need examination by any non-governmental organisation contemplating legal action.

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