A re-examination of the case for a locus standi rule in public law

Barry Hough

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The doctrine of locus standi, or standing, determines the competence of a plaintiff to assert the matter of their complaint before the court. Since an individual lacking locus standi is an incompetent plaintiff, it follows that, in public law, government can exceed or abuse its powers with impunity provided no such "qualified" litigant seeks the intervention of the court. This appears directly in conflict with the constitutional requirement of legality. Public law is about imposing legal controls on governmental powers. The standing principle, which is probably feudal in origin, poses important questions about the meaning of the rule of law since the courts appear untroubled by excess or abuse of legal powers unless invited to intervene by an individual having a cognisable interest in the matter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
JournalCambrian Law Review
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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