Last week the Chair of the HS2 Lords Committee made a statement on locus standi:
“The right to be heard in Latin, locus standi, depends partly on the longstanding practice of Parliament and partly on extensions contained in Standing Orders 117 and 118 of the Standing Orders of the House of Lords.”
“These extensions reflect the importance of environmental and ecological issues to which little attention was paid in the 19th century. But it’s necessary to note that Standing Orders 117 and 118 give the Select Committee a wide discretion and the practice is to confine petitions on these issues to local authorities and established bodies with recognised expert knowledge. And yesterday, many such societies were mentioned including the Council for Protection of Rural England, the Woodland Trust; there were many, many, many of them who are petitioners.”
“For an individual petitioner claiming the right to be heard, it is necessary to show that his or her property interests, typically a dwelling house or possibly a shop or a farm, are directly and specially affected by the project authorised by the Bill, either by compulsory acquisition or by noise, vibration or something else amounting to a common law nuisance or other interference with the property right.”
“So, that is a very simple statement which will be available to petitioners, especially those who are not legally represented.”
The statement may well be welcomed for individual petitioners, as it is a departure from the position of the promoter that only compulsory purchase qualifies people to have locus standi. However, the chair stated that practice is to confine groups to a level below that which all action groups were allowed to petition in the House of Commons.