Locus standi, or standing, refers to the right founded on a legally recognised interest in the matter in dispute, to initiate legal proceedings in one’s own name.
In causes of action grounded in common law, standing is not required to be established. Standing will most often be disputed for the following types of plaintiffs:
- Public interest groups challenging government policy or decisions that relate to the focus of said group
- Trade unions challenging government policy or decisions that would have a perceived detrimental effect on union members
- Commercial entities challenging government policy or decisions that unfairly advantage their competition
- Concerned citizens challenging government policy or decisions that do not affect their private rights, but are of concern to them
In Australia, standing is quite a complex area of law, and the process for establishing standing where it is contested will depend on the nature of the matter and the jurisdiction. Standing is legislated for under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977, and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975. The common law authority for interpretation is found in Australian Conservation Foundation v Commonwealth (1980).
The common law test is that of a ‘special interest in the subject matter of the action’ as ‘an emotional or intellectual concern will not of itself confer standing’.