Standing of Parties in Review of Administrative Decisions

Standing of a party to obtain judicial review in the federal courts is in accordance with Article III of United States Constitution.  Standing has been defined as a presently existing, substantial interest in the subject matter of the suit, which will be affected by the relief granted.  The U.S. constitution restricts federal court’s judicial power to “cases” and “controversies.”  The words “cases” and “controversies” limit the business of federal courts to questions presented in an adversary context and in a form historically viewed as capable of resolution through the judicial process.  Those words also define the role assigned to the judiciary in a tripartite allocation of power to assure that the federal courts will not intrude into areas committed to the other branches of government.  Justiciability is the term of art employed to give expression to this dual limitation placed upon federal courts by the case-and-controversy doctrine.  Justiciability is a concept that covers a number of areas in which questions sought to be adjudicated have been held not to be justiciable.  Examples include political questions, advisory opinions, issues that are moot, and lack of standing.[i]

Under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a person who is adversely affected or aggrieved by agency action within the meaning of a relevant statute is entitled to judicial review of that action.  An individual who has a mere interest in an issue is not adversely affected or aggrieved within the meaning of the APA.  The complainant must also allege injury in fact, actual or threatened, caused by the challenged action.  Moreover, the alleged injury must be to an interest arguably within the zone of interests to be protected or regulated by the statutes or constitutional guaranties claimed to have been violated.

[i] Alons v. Iowa Dist. Court, 698 N.W.2d 858 (Iowa 2005)


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