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DECIDING WHETHER A CLAIMANT HAS LOCUS STANDI

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Having held as above, what is the position of the law on the issue of locus standi? In law, deciding whether a Claimant has the requisite locus standi is a function of whether the claim he makes has disclosed his sufficient interest in the subject matter and to determine this it is the averments of the Claimant in his pleadings that the Court has to look at and critically examine to see if it discloses his interest sufficient enough to clothe him with the requisite locus standi to sue.

— B.A. Georgewill JCA. Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc V. Longterm Global Capital Limited & Ors. (CA/L/427/2016, 9 Mar 2018)

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WHY LOCUS STANDI WAS EVOLVED

In INEC v. Ogbadibo LGC (2014) 22640(CA) 24-25, F-C, by Ogbuinya, JCA as follows:
“From the etymological perspective, the cliche expression, locus standi, traces its roots to Latin Language which means: “place of standing”. In its expounded legal form, locus standi denotes the legal right or capacity of a person to institute an action in a Court of law when his right is trampled upon by somebody or authority. The locus classicus on locus standi in the Nigerian jurisprudence is the case of Adesanya V The President, FRN (1981) 5 SC 112; (1981) 2 NCLR 358… Locus standi was evolved to protect the Court from being converted into a jamboree by professional litigants or meddlesome interlopers who have no interest in matters, See Taiwo V Adegboro (2011) 11 NWLR (Pt. 1159) 562″

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AN INTERVENER’S INTEREST IN AN ACTION

para. 34: “In general, “interest in an action” is appreciated with reference to the orders sought in the applications of an Intervener possessing an interest in the resolution of the dispute submitted to the court, and when these orders have no other purpose than to support or reject the order by another party.”

Ugokwe v FRN (2005) – ECW/CCJ/JUD/03/05

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THERE IS LOCUS STANDI WHERE CIVIL RIGHTS ARE IN DANGER – TWO TESTS FOR DETERMINING LOCUS STANDI

B.B. Apugo & Sons Ltd V. Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (2016) 13 NWLR (Pt. 1529) 206@ p. 269: “A person has locus standi to sue in an action if he is able to show to the satisfaction of the Court that his civil rights and obligations have been or are in danger of being infringed. There are two tests for determining if a person has locus standi. They are: 1. The action must be justiciable, and 2. There must be a dispute between the parties…To have locus standi the Plaintiff’s Statement of Claim must disclose sufficient legal interest, and show how such interest arose in the subject matter of the action…”

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DEFINITION OF LOCUS STANDI

In B.B. Apugo & Sons Ltd V. OHMB (2016) LPELR-40598(SC) per Kekere-Ekun, JSC 23, B-E, defined locus standi thus: “Locus standi is the legal right of a party to an action to be heard in litigation before a Court or tribunal. The term connotes the legal capacity of instituting or commencing an action in a competent Court of law or tribunal without any inhibition, obstruction or hindrance from any person or body whatsoever. It is also the law that to have locus standi to sue, the plaintiff must have sufficient interest in the suit. For instance, one of the factors for determining sufficient interest is whether the party seeking redress would suffer some injury or hardship from the litigation…”

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MEANING OF LOCUS STANDI; LOCUS STANDI IS A THRESHOLD ISSUE

The term locus standi is a Latin term which translates to “place to stand”. It refers to the legal right of a person, natural or artificial, to file a suit. It is sometimes used interchangeably with terms like “standing”, “standing to sue” and “title to sue”. Unquestionably, the issue of locus standi is a threshold issue, and in order for a court to have jurisdiction, the Plaintiff must have locus standi to commence or file the action. Put differently, if a Plaintiff lacks the legal right to institute an action, no court will in turn have the power or competence or jurisdiction to entertain the suit. A Plaintiff’s locus Page 20 of 41 standi is inextricably linked with the jurisdiction of the court as once a Plaintiff lacks locus, the court is also bereft of jurisdiction. See AKANDE V. JEGEDE (2022) 14 NWLR (PT. 1849) 125; AJAYI V. ADEBIYI (2012) 11 NWLR (PT. 1310) 137; B.M.LTD. V. WOERMANN-LINE (2009) 13 NWLR (PT. 1157) 149.

— A. Jauro, JSC. PDP v INEC (2023) – SC/CV/501/2023

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WHAT IS LOCUS STANDI?

Locus standi , which is a Latin word simply means a place of standing. It is the legal right of a party to an action to be heard in Litigation before the Court or Tribunal. The term denotes, the right of a party to institute an action in a Court of Law or seek judicial enforcement of a duty. See Senator Adesanya vs. President FRN (1981) 5 SC 112, Adesolakan Vs. Adegbo vs. A. G, Lagos State (2012) All FWLR (Pt 631) 1522. Locus standi thus, entails the legal capacity of instituting or commencing an action in a competent Court of Law without any inhibition, obstruction or hindrance from any person or body whatsoever. Whenever a person’s Locus to sue is in issue, as in this appeal, the question is really whether the person whose standing is in issue, is the proper person to request an adjudication over the dispute he has brought for adjudication. The issue at this stage, is whether the Plaintiff or the person whose locus is challenged, has disclosed sufficient interest in the dispute or the subject matter of the dispute.

— A.A. Wambai, JCA. Skye Bank v. Haruna & Ors. (CA/K/264/2011, 17th December, 2014)

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