What does Locus Standi mean?
How do you legally define it?
What are the essential elements you should know!
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of Locus Standi so you know all there is to know about it!
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What Does Locus Standi Mean
“Locus Standi” is a legal term used to refer to a party having to show sufficient connection to and harm from the law (or the challenging of action) for the court to accept hearing the same in the case.
In Latin, the term “locus standi” means a “place to stand”.
In other words, to be heard in court on a legal matter, a party must have proper standing.
We can consider a party to have “standing” in the following scenarios:
- A party is directly impacted by the adverse consequences of a law or legal action
- A party is not directly impacted or harmed for the reason they want to be heard in court but have a reasonable relation to the legal matter
- A party is automatically granted standing by operation of the law
In any legal action, one of the first aspects the plaintiff must demonstrate is to establish legal standing by showing there is a sufficiently direct interest for the plaintiff to prosecute the asserted claim.
Locus Standi Definition
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, locus standi is defined as follows:
A right to appear in a court or before any body on a given question : a right to be heard
As this definition simply puts it, locus standi refers to a “right to be heard” in court on a legal question or matter.
It’s important to note that the term in the singular is “locus standi” and “loci standi” in plural.
Many incorrectly write the term as:
- Locus stadi
- Locu standi
- Locas standi
- Locus standy
The proper writing of the term is ‘locus standi’.
In the United States, there are three standing requirements:
Injury-in-fact means that the plaintiff must show that it is suffering harm or will imminently suffer injury and such harm or injury is actual (not hypothetical).
Causation means that there must be a causal link between the injury alleged and the conduct complained about or the challenged action.
The third requirement is redressability which means that with a favorable court decision, the likely injury can be redressed.
Right To Be Heard
For a party to be able to make representations in court and be heard, it must have proper standing to have the right to be heard.
In other words, the party seeking to be heard must demonstrate to the court that it has a connection to the legal matter or may suffer harm from the law or action challenged.
If a party demonstrates sufficient and reasonable connection, the court will accept to hear the representations of the party.
Otherwise, the court will not permit anyone from participating in a lawsuit, legal action, or challenge a matter when they have no connection or reasonable grounds to participate.
Locus Standi Limitations
There are three main limitations to the doctrine of locus standi:
- Prohibition of third-party standing
- Prohibition of generalized grievances
- Zone of interest test
The prohibition of third-party standing means that a party is permitted to assert his or her own claims in court and not for a third-party unless there is a legal justification.
The second limitation is with regards to generalized claims.
A plaintiff cannot sue another in court in a generalized and undifferentiated manner.
For instance, a taxpayer cannot file claims against the state for general grievances affecting taxpayers in general.
The third limitation is the zone of interest test where the U.S. Supreme Court uses two tests to evaluate this limitation:
- Zone of injury
- Zone of interests
The zone of injury test is to show that the zone of injury is what Congress expected to address by law.
The zone of interests means that the party is within the zone of interested parties the law or statute intended to target or sought to protect.
Locus Standi Example
Let’s look at an example where a party will need to demonstrate legal standing to be able to participate in a court action.
Imagine a person wishes to contest the constitutionality of a particular law or statute.
As such, the party challenging the constitutionality of the law must show that it is directly harmed by the law, has a reasonable connection with the law, or has an automatic standing by operation of the law.
If the person is able to show standing, the case will move forward.
If the person is unable to show standing, the court will dismiss the constitutionality challenge on the basis that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue the matter on the merits of the case.
In the United States, a person can challenge the constitutionality of law provided they can demonstrate that they “are” or “will imminently” be harmed by the law.
Locus Standi Meaning Takeaways
So what is the legal definition of Locus Standi?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Define Locus Standi
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