Standing (law)

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In law, standing or locus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case. In the United States, the current doctrine is that a person cannot bring a suit challenging the constitutionality of a law unless the plaintiff can demonstrate that the plaintiff is (or will imminently be) harmed by the law. Otherwise, the court will rule that the plaintiff "lacks standing" to bring the suit, and will dismiss the case without considering the merits of the claim of unconstitutionality. To have a court declare a law unconstitutional, there must be a valid reason for the lawsuit. The party suing must have something to lose in order to sue unless it has automatic standing by action of law.



In Canadian administrative law, whether an individual has standing to bring an application for judicial review, or an appeal from the decision of a tribunal, is governed by the language of the particular statute under which the application or the appeal is brought. Some statutes provide for a narrow right of standing while others provide for a broader right of standing.[1]

Frequently a litigant wishes to bring a civil action for a declaratory judgment against a public body or official. This is considered an aspect of administrative law, sometimes with a constitutional dimension, as when the litigant seeks to have legislation declared unconstitutional.

Public interest standing

The Supreme Court of Canada developed the concept of public interest standing in three constitutional cases commonly called "the Standing trilogy": Thorson v. Canada (Attorney General),[2] Nova Scotia Board of Censors v. McNeil,[3] and Minister of Justice v. Borowski.[4] The trilogy was summarized as follows in Canadian Council of Churches v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration):[5]

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