- A real legal disagreement that results in an authentic lawsuit, instead of a contrived legal action designed to get a court's unofficial opinion. The U.S. federal courts only consider an actual controversy for appeal and avoid giving opinions on hypothetical situations or non-adversarial suits created to gauge the possible result
- The court dismissed the case as there was no actual controversy involved, just a hypothetical situation.
- The neighbors' dispute over their property line is an example of an actual controversy.
- An actual controversy is necessary for a lawsuit to be taken up by the federal courts.