LONDON (Reuters) - British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn does not need to be nominated by his lawmakers to run in a leadership contest triggered by a challenge from one of his colleagues, a judge ruled on Thursday.

Labour is locked in a bitter internal fight over its future and Corbyn, whose lawmakers have overwhelmingly backed a vote of no confidence in him, is campaigning to keep the job he was elected to last year with strong grassroots support.

A decision by the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) this month that Corbyn could automatically be on the ballot paper for the contest without having to seek nominations from lawmakers had been challenged in court by Labour donor Michael Foster.

If he had been forced to seek nominations from Labour members of parliament, Corbyn would likely not have won enough support to get on the ballot paper.

"The Judge accepted that the decision of the NEC was correct and that Mr Corbyn was entitled to be a candidate in the forthcoming election without the need for nominations," the judgment said.

Corbyn welcomed the decision, saying the case had been a "monumental waste of Labour Party time and resources".

The party's General Secretary Iain McNicol said the election would now continue as planned, with the result due on Sept. 24.

"We are delighted that the court has upheld the authority and decision of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party," he said in a statement.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Giles Elgood)