Standing - General Principles

Generally speaking, the common law test for standing in Australia is that the person applying for standing have either a private right, or be able to demonstrate that he or she has a ‘special interest’ in the subject matter of the action. The ‘special interest’ does not need to involve a legal or pecuniary right but has to be more than a ‘mere intellectual or emotional concern’ and must be an interest that is different than that of an ordinary member of the public. This test was formulated in the ACF case. The statutory test (under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth)) is that the applicant be a ‘person aggrieved’. This test has usually been interpreted in line with the common law. The two leading Australian cases on standing are the ACF case and Onus v. Alcoa.

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