Actual Controversy Law and Legal Definition

Actual controversy means a true legal dispute which leads to a genuine lawsuit not merely a hypothetical, theoretical, or speculative legal issue.

A case must consist of an actual dispute between parties over their legal rights that remain in conflict at the time the case is presented and must be a proper matter for judicial determination.

Federal courts, including the U. S. Supreme Court, will only consider an "actual controversy. Art. III, Section 2, Clause 1 of the U.S.Constitution impose a requirement that the United States Federal Court shall not hear cases that do not pose an actual controversy. Actual dispute is the actual dispute between adverse parties capable of being resolved by a court. Courts must not hear unripe or moot cases. An actual dispute is one that can be legally resolved.