What Is "Standing"


When confronting legal proceedings, our clients are often inundated with confusing terms that have no utility unless clearly defined.

“Standing” is one of many seemingly elusive legal terms that is imperative to grasp when considering legal action. Fortunately, the concept of standing is fairly straightforward when explained in practical terms.

Standing is the legal term for the right to be a party in a lawsuit. Best to explain with an example:

  • Bob and Tom are friends.
  • Bob is accidentally hit by a car while crossing the road and sustains bodily injuries.
  • Bob files a lawsuit against the driver of the car. Because Bob was struck by the vehicle and did sustain injuries, he has standing to sue the driver.
  • Tom was not at the scene of the accident and did not sustain any injuries.
  • Tom, upset that his friend was injured, also attempts to sue the driver of the car.
  • Tom cannot file a lawsuit or be a party to the lawsuit against the driver. He was not injured has no connection to the matter. He therefore lacks standing.

It bears noting that standing is not synonymous with prevailing or “winning” a lawsuit. To establish standing simply means that the party or parties seeking relief through the court have demonstrated a sufficient connection to the matter at issue to support their participation therein.


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