Locus standi/Legal Standing (international law) [Fr.: statut juridique, Gr.: ικανότητα διαδίκου]  (See also: jus standi, actio popularis, legal rights, subject of law, access to international justice, international legal personality, right to effective judicial protection) = the right of an individual or group of individuals to bring an action before a Court and to participate in the judicial proceedings. Locus standi is commonly accorded to individuals when they can demonstrate that the law or act in question infringes their legal rights or at least that it will cause a sufficient degree of harm to their particular interests. On the other hand, some legal systems adopt a more liberal approach, allowing locus standi for every citizen regardless of personal interest (actio popularis).

In international law, it is primarily states that have locus standi before international tribunals, with a limited right recognised for international organisations, and sometimes even individuals; for example, they can appear before the International Criminal Tribunals. Under EU law, private citizens and legal persons have the right to challenge Community acts as non-privileged applicants under Article 263 TFEU (former Article 230 EC) when:

(a) a decision is addressed to the applicant; 

(b) a decision is addressed to third parties but it differentiates the applicant from all other persons (direct and individual concern);

(c) a regulatory acts that does not entail implementing measures and is of direct concern to the applicant.

Useful links

Legislation - Treaty of Amsterdam Amending the Treaty on European Union, 1997, Article 230 EC [English] - Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Acess to Justice in Environmental Matters, 1998, Article 9 para. 2-3 [English] - Consolidated Version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, 2007, Article 263  [English] - Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (last amended 2010), Article 1 [English]

Case Law - Case 25/62 Plaumann v. Commission [1963] ECR 95 [English] - Cases 41-44/70, International Fruit Company BV v. Commission, [1971] ECR 411 [English] - Cases 789-790/79 Calpak SpA and Società Emiliana Lavorazione Frutta SpA v. Commission, [1980] ECR 1949 [English] - Case C-309/89 Codorniu SA v. Commission, [1994] ECR I-1853 [English] - Case C-50/00 P Union de Pequenos Agricultores v. Council [2002] ECR I-6677 [English] - Case C-263/02 P Commission v. Jego-Quere & Cie SA [2004] ECR I-3425 [English]

Online Publications - Biernat E., 2003, The Locus Standi of Private Applicants under article 230 (4) EC and the Principle of Judicial Protection in the European Community, Jean Monnet working paper 12/03, The Jean Monnet Program, New York: New York University School of Law [English] - Green Martínez S. A., 2013, Locus Standi Before the International Court of Justice for Violations of the World Heritage Convention, Transnational Dispute Management 5 [English] - Kronenberger V., 2002, Locus standi of individuals before Community courts under Article 230(4)EC: Illusions and Disillusions after the Jégo-Quéré (T-177/01) and Unión de Pequenos Agricultores (C-50/00 P) judgments, The European Legal Forum (E) 4-2002, 257 - 26 [English] - Lenaerts K, Effective judicial protection in the EU [English] - Mourouzidi V. I., 2009, The private applicants' access to justice as far as the enforcement of the EC environmental law is concerned, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Master's Dissertation [Greek] - Rebasti E.; Vierucci L., 2002, A Legal Status for NGOs in Contemporary International Law?, European University Institute of Florence Workshop outcomes [English] - Safjan M., 2014, A Union of Effective Judicial Protection: Addressing a multi-level challenge through the lens of Article 47 CFREU, King's College London, Annual EU Law Conference [English]


Craig P.; De Burca G., 2001, EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials, Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press [English]

Crawford J., 2012, Brownlie's Principles of Public International Law, 8th Edition, Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press [English]

Hartley T. C., 2010, The foundations of European Union law: an introduction to the constitutional and administrative law of the European Union, Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press [English]

Tridimas T.; Poli S., Locus Standi of Individuals under Article 230(4): The Return of Euridice? in Arnull A.; Eeckhout P.; Tridimas T., 2008, Continuity and Change in EU Law: Essays in Honour of Sir Francis Jacobs, Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press [English]

White N. D., 2005, The Law of International Organisations, Manchester, Manchester University Press [English]


By Angeliki Tsanta