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Justiciability, Declaratory Judgments

A plaintiff needs to have legal standing in order to make a claim in court. Standing is often synonymous with justiciability, but the former is simply part of the latter.  A justiciable controversy exists where (1) the plaintiff has a legally protectable interest at stake, (2) a substantial controversy exists between the parties with genuinely adverse interests, and (3) the controversy is ripe for judicial determination. Schweich v. Nixon, 408 S.W.3d 769, 773 (Mo. 2013). In reality, standing is  confined to the first two elements of justiciability. Specifically, standing means the parties seeking relief must have some personal interest at stake in the dispute, even if that interest is attenuated, slight or remote. Id.

A request for a declaratory is a bit of an exception to standing . With a declaratory judgment, a plaintiff is requesting that the Court declare legal rights or relations which would lead to immediate or prospective consequential relief (other requirements exist to properly maintain a declaratory action, including the inadequacy of legal remedies). Gerken v. Sherman, 276 S.W.3d 844, 853 (Mo. Ct. App. 2009). There is no litmus test for determining whether a legally protectable interests exists; it is determined on a case-by-case basis. Id.

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