standing | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction / Procedural Law

Standing is the idea that only the person harmed by an action can take a complaint about the action before a court.

Standing is a legal concept that determines whether a plaintiff has the right to bring a case before a court, and it requires the plaintiff to show a sufficient connection to and harm from the action being challenged, ensuring that the courts are not inundated with frivolous cases that do not actually harm anyone, but at the same time, allowing individuals or groups with legitimate interests to seek judicial relief.

Standing is often a requirement in both civil and criminal cases, and it ensures that courts only hear cases where the plaintiff has a real stake in the outcome. In other words, standing requires that the plaintiff has suffered an actual or imminent injury, that the injury is directly caused by the defendant’s action, and that the injury can be redressed by a favorable court decision.

In practice, standing can be a complex issue that requires a thorough examination of the facts and the law. For example, in cases where the harm is widespread, such as in environmental or consumer protection cases, standing may be extended to individuals or groups who can demonstrate that they have suffered harm, even if it is not directly related to the defendant’s actions.

In criminal cases, standing is also important, particularly in cases where a defendant is challenging a law or government action as unconstitutional. In such cases, the defendant must demonstrate that they have been directly harmed by the law or action in question and that they have a legitimate reason to challenge its constitutionality.

Overall, the concept of standing is important because it helps ensure that the courts only hear cases that are legitimate and have a real impact on the parties involved. This helps preserve the integrity and efficiency of the legal system while ensuring that individuals and groups with legitimate interests can seek redress for their grievances.

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Last Modified: 04/08/2023


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