Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

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For an article on the use of jurisdiction to mean a state or country, see Jurisdiction (area).


Jurisdiction (from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 ius, iuris meaning "law" and dicere meaning "to speak") is the practical authority
Authority
The word Authority is derived mainly from the Latin word auctoritas, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command. In English, the word 'authority' can be used to mean power given by the state or by academic knowledge of an area .-Authority in Philosophy:In...

 granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice
Justice
Justice is a concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, law, natural law, religion, or equity, along with the punishment of the breach of said ethics; justice is the act of being just and/or fair.-Concept of justice:...

 within a defined area of responsibility. The term is also used to denote the geographical area or subject-matter to which such authority applies.

Jurisdiction draws its substance from public international law, conflict of laws
Conflict of laws
Conflict of laws is a set of procedural rules that determines which legal system and which jurisdiction's applies to a given dispute...

, constitutional law
Constitutional law
Constitutional law is the body of law which defines the relationship of different entities within a state, namely, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary....

 and the powers of the executive
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 and legislative branches
Legislature
A legislature is a kind of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws. The law created by a legislature is called legislation or statutory law. In addition to enacting laws, legislatures usually have exclusive authority to raise or lower taxes and adopt the budget and...

 of government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 to allocate resources to best serve the needs of its native society
Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people related to each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or virtual territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations...

.

International Dimension


International laws and treaties provide agreements which nations agree to be bound to.

Political issue


Supranational organizations provide mechanisms whereby disputes between states may be resolved through arbitration
Arbitration
Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution , is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts, where the parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons , by whose decision they agree to be bound...

 or mediation
Mediation
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

. When a country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 is recognized as de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

, it is an acknowledgment by the other de jure nations that the country has sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 and the right to exist.

However, it is often at the discretion of each state whether to co-operate or participate. If a state does agree to participate in activities of the supranational bodies and accept decisions, the state is giving up its sovereign authority and thereby allocating power to these bodies.

Insofar as these bodies or nominated individuals may resolve disputes in a judicial or quasi-judicial fashion, or promote treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 obligations in the nature of laws, the power ceded to these bodies cumulatively represents its own jurisdiction. But no matter how powerful each body may appear to be, the extent to which any of the judgments may be enforced, or proposed treaties and conventions may become or remain effective within the territorial boundaries of each nation is a political matter under the sovereign control of the relevant representative government(s) which, in a democratic context, will have electorates to satisfy.

International and municipal jurisdiction


The fact that international organizations, courts and tribunals have been created raises the difficult question of how to co-ordinate their activities with those of national courts. If the two sets of bodies do not have concurrent jurisdiction but, as in the case of the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

 (ICC), the relationship is expressly based on the principle of complementarity, i.e. the international court is subsidiary or complementary to national courts, the difficulty is avoided. But if the jurisdiction claimed is concurrent, or as in the case of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
The International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, more commonly referred to as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or ICTY, is a...

 (ICTY), the international tribunal is to prevail over national courts, the problems are more difficult to resolve politically.

The idea of universal jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction
Universal jurisdiction or universality principle is a principle in public international law whereby states claim criminal jurisdiction over persons whose alleged crimes were committed outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of nationality, country of residence, or any other...

 is fundamental to the operation of global organizations such as the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 (ICJ), which jointly assert the benefit of maintaining legal entities with jurisdiction over a wide range of matters of significance to states (the ICJ should not be confused with the ICC and this version of "universal jurisdiction" is not the same as that enacted in the War Crimes Law (Belgium)
War Crimes Law (Belgium)
Belgium's War Crimes Law invokes the concept of universal jurisdiction to allow anyone to bring war crime charges in Belgian courts, regardless of where the alleged crimes have taken place....

 which is an assertion of extraterritorial jurisdiction that will fail to gain implementation in any other state under the standard provisions of public policy
Public policy (law)
In private international law, the public policy doctrine or ordre public concerns the body of principles that underpin the operation of legal systems in each state. This addresses the social, moral and economic values that tie a society together: values that vary in different cultures and change...

). Under Article 34 Statute of the ICJ only states may be parties in cases before the Court and, under Article 36, the jurisdiction comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force. But, to invoke the jurisdiction in any given case, all the parties have to accept the prospective judgment as binding. This reduces the risk of wasting the Court's time.

Despite the safeguards built into the constitutions of most of these organizations, courts and tribunals, the concept of universal jurisdiction is controversial among those states which prefer unilateral to multilateral solutions through the use of executive or military authority, sometimes described as realpolitik
Realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...

-based diplomacy.

Within other international contexts, there are intergovernmental organizations
International organization
An intergovernmental organization, sometimes rendered as an international governmental organization and both abbreviated as IGO, is an organization composed primarily of sovereign states , or of other intergovernmental organizations...

 such as the World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 (WTO) that have socially and economically significant dispute resolution functions but, again, even though their jurisdiction may be invoked to hear the cases, the power to enforce their decisions is at the will of the states affected, save that the WTO is permitted to allow retaliatory action by successful states against those states found to be in breach of international trade law
International trade law
International trade law includes the appropriate rules and customs for handling trade between countries. However, it is also used in legal writings as trade between private sectors, which is not right. This branch of law is now an independent field of study as most governments has become part of...

. At a regional level, groups of states can create political and legal bodies with sometimes complicated patchworks of overlapping provisions detailing the jurisdictional relationships between the member states and providing for some degree of harmonization between their national legislative and judicial functions, for example, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 both have the potential to become federated states although the political barriers to such unification in the face of entrenched nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 will be very difficult to overcome. Each such group may form transnational institutions with declared legislative or judicial powers. For example, in Europe, the European Court of Justice
European Court of Justice
The Court can sit in plenary session, as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges, or in chambers of three or five judges. Plenary sitting are now very rare, and the court mostly sits in chambers of three or five judges...

 has been given jurisdiction as the ultimate appellate court to the member states on issues of European law. This jurisdiction is entrenched and its authority could only be denied by a member state if that member State asserts its sovereignty and withdraws from the union.

International and municipal law


The standard treaties and conventions leave the issue of implementation to each state, i.e. there is no general rule in international law that treaties have direct effect
Direct effect
Direct effect is the principle of European Union law according to which provisions of Union law may, if appropriately framed, confer rights and impose obligations on individuals which the courts of European Union member states are bound to recognise and enforce...

 in municipal law, but some states, by virtue of their membership of supranational bodies, allow the direct incorporation of rights or enact legislation
Legislation
Legislation is law which has been promulgated by a legislature or other governing body, or the process of making it...

 to honor their international commitments. Hence, citizens in those states can invoke the jurisdiction of local courts to enforce rights granted under international law wherever there is incorporation. If there is no direct effect or legislation, there are two theories to justify the courts incorporating international into municipal law:
  • Monism
This theory characterizes international and municipal law as a single legal system with municipal law subordinate to international law. Hence, in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, all treaties and the orders of international organizations are effective without any action being required to convert international into municipal law. This has an interesting consequence because treaties that limit or extend the powers of the Dutch government are automatically considered a part of their constitutional law, for example, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966, and in force from March 23, 1976...

. In states adopting this theory, the local courts automatically accept jurisdiction to adjudicate on lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

s relying on international law principles.
  • Dualism
This theory regards international and municipal law as separate systems so that the municipal courts can only apply international law either when it has been incorporated into municipal law or when the courts incorporate international law on their own motion. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, for example, a treaty is not effective until it has been incorporated at which time it becomes enforceable in the courts by any private citizen, where appropriate, even against the UK Government. Otherwise the courts have a discretion to apply international law where it does not conflict with statute
Statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 or the common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

. The constitutional principle of parliamentary supremacy permits the legislature to enact any law inconsistent with any international treaty obligations even though the government is a signatory to those treaties.


In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the Supremacy Clause
Supremacy Clause
Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause, establishes the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Treaties, and Federal Statutes as "the supreme law of the land." The text decrees these to be the highest form of law in the U.S...

 of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 makes all treaties that have been ratified under the authority of the United States and customary international law, …the "Supreme Law of the Land" (U.S. Const.art. VI Cl. 2) and, as such, the law of the land is binding on the federal government as well as on state and local governments. According to the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, the treaty power authorizes Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 to legislate under the Necessary and Proper Clause in areas beyond those specifically conferred on Congress (Missouri v. Holland
Missouri v. Holland
Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 , the United States Supreme Court held that protection of its quasi-sovereign right to regulate the taking of game is a sufficient jurisdictional basis, apart from any pecuniary interest, for a bill by a State to enjoin enforcement of federal regulations over the...

, 252 U.S. 416 (1920)).

The jurisdiction between and within states


This concerns the relationships both between courts in different jurisdictions, and between courts within the same jurisdiction. The usual legal doctrine under which questions of jurisdiction are decided is termed forum non conveniens
Forum non conveniens
Forum non conveniens is a common law legal doctrine whereby courts may refuse to take jurisdiction over matters where there is a more appropriate forum available to the parties...

.

International


To deal with the issue of forum shopping
Forum shopping
Forum shopping is the informal name given to the practice adopted by some litigants to get their legal case heard in the court thought most likely to provide a favorable judgment...

, states are urged to adopt more positive rules on conflict of laws. The Hague Conference
Hague Conference on Private International Law
The Hague Conference on Private International Law is the preeminent organisation in the area of private international law....

 and other international bodies have made recommendations on jurisdictional matters, but litigants with the encouragement of lawyer
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

s on a contingent fee
Contingent fee
A contingent fee or conditional fee is any fee for services provided where the fee is only payable if there is a favourable result...

 continue to shop for forums.

Supranational


At a supranational level, countries have adopted a range of treaty and convention obligations to relate the right of individual litigants to invoke the jurisdiction of state courts and to enforce the judgments obtained. For example, the member state
Member state
A member state is a state that is a member of an international organisation.The World Trade Organization has members that are sovereign states and members that are not, thus WTO members are not called member states.- Worldwide :...

s of the EEC
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

 signed the Brussels Convention
Brussels Regime
The Brussels Regime is a set of rules regulating which courts have jurisdiction in legal disputes of a civil or commercial nature between individuals resident in different member states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association...

 in 1968 and, subject to amendments as new states joined, it represents the default law for all twenty-seven Member States of what is now termed the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 on the relationships between the courts in the different countries. In addition, the Lugano Convention
Brussels Regime
The Brussels Regime is a set of rules regulating which courts have jurisdiction in legal disputes of a civil or commercial nature between individuals resident in different member states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association...

 (1988) binds the European Union and the European Free Trade Association
European Free Trade Association
The European Free Trade Association or EFTA is a free trade organisation between four European countries that operates parallel to, and is linked to, the European Union . EFTA was established on 3 May 1960 as a trade bloc-alternative for European states who were either unable to, or chose not to,...

.

In effect from 1 March, 2002, all the member states of the EU except Denmark accepted Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001
Brussels Regime
The Brussels Regime is a set of rules regulating which courts have jurisdiction in legal disputes of a civil or commercial nature between individuals resident in different member states of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association...

, which makes major changes to the Brussels Convention and is directly effective
Direct effect
Direct effect is the principle of European Union law according to which provisions of Union law may, if appropriately framed, confer rights and impose obligations on individuals which the courts of European Union member states are bound to recognise and enforce...

 in the member states. In some legal areas, at least, the CACA enforcement of foreign judgments
Enforcement of foreign judgments
In law, the enforcement of foreign judgments is the recognition and enforcement in one jurisdiction of judgments rendered in another jurisdiction...

 is now more straightforward. At a state level, the traditional rules still determine jurisdiction over persons who are not domiciled
Domicile (law)
In law, domicile is the status or attribution of being a permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. A person can remain domiciled in a jurisdiction even after they have left it, if they have maintained sufficient links with that jurisdiction or have not displayed an intention to leave...

 or habitually resident in the European Union or the Lugano area.

National


Many nations are subdivided into states and province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s (i.e. a subnational "state"). Federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

 (as can be found in Australia
States and territories of Australia
The Commonwealth of Australia is a union of six states and various territories. The Australian mainland is made up of five states and three territories, with the sixth state of Tasmania being made up of islands. In addition there are six island territories, known as external territories, and a...

, States of Brazi, India
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

, Mexico
States of Mexico
The United Mexican States is a federal republic formed by 32 federal entities .According to the Constitution of 1917, the states of the federation are free and sovereign. Each state has their own congress and constitution, while the Federal District has only limited autonomy with a local Congress...

 and the United States
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

) and these subunits will exercise jurisdiction through the court systems as defined by the executives and legislatures.

When the jurisdictions of governmental entities overlap, one another—for example, between a state and the federation to which it belongs—their jurisdiction is shared or concurrent jurisdiction.

Otherwise, one government entity will have exclusive jurisdiction over the shared area. When jurisdiction is concurrent, one governmental entity may have supreme jurisdiction over the other entity if their laws conflict. If the executive or legislative powers within the jurisdiction are not restricted or restricted only by a number of limited restrictions, these government branches have plenary power such as a national policing power
Police power
In United States constitutional law, police power is the capacity of the states to regulate behavior and enforce order within their territory for the betterment of the general welfare, morals, health, and safety of their inhabitants...

.
Otherwise, an enabling act
Enabling act
An enabling act is a piece of legislation by which a legislative body grants an entity which depends on it for authorization or legitimacy the power to take certain actions. For example, enabling acts often establish government agencies to carry out specific government policies in a modern nation...

 grants only limited or enumerated powers.

The problem of forum shopping also applies as between federal and state courts.

United States


The primary distinctions between areas of jurisdiction are codified at a national level. As a common law
Common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...

 system, jurisdiction is conceptually divided between jurisdiction over the subject matter
Subject-matter jurisdiction
Subject-matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court only has the authority to hear bankruptcy cases....

of a case and jurisdiction over the person of the litigants. (See personal jurisdiction.) Sometimes a court may exercise jurisdiction over property located within the perimeter of its powers without regard to personal jurisdiction over the litigants; this is called jurisdiction in rem
Jurisdiction in rem
In rem is a legal term describing the power a court may exercise over property or a "status" against a person over whom the court does not have "in personam jurisdiction"...

.

A court whose subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to certain types of controversies (for example, suits in admiralty
Admiralty law
Admiralty law is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. It is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans...

 or suits where the monetary amount sought is less than a specified sum) is sometimes referred to as a court of special jurisdiction or court of limited jurisdiction.

A court whose subject-matter is not limited to certain types of controversy is referred to as a court of general jurisdiction. In the U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s, each state has courts of general jurisdiction; most states also have some courts of limited jurisdiction. Federal courts (those operated by the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

) are courts of limited jurisdiction. Federal jurisdiction is divided into federal question jurisdiction
Federal question jurisdiction
Federal question jurisdiction is a term used in the United States law of civil procedure to refer to the situation in which a United States federal court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a civil case because the plaintiff has alleged a violation of the Constitution or law of the...

 and diversity jurisdiction
Diversity jurisdiction
In the law of the United States, diversity jurisdiction is a form of subject-matter jurisdiction in civil procedure in which a United States district court has the power to hear a civil case where the persons that are parties are "diverse" in citizenship, which generally indicates that they are...

. The United States district court
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

s may hear only cases arising under federal law and treaties, cases involving ambassadors, admiralty cases, controversies between states or between a state and citizens of another state, lawsuits involving citizens of different states, and against foreign states and citizens.

Certain courts, particularly the United States Supreme Court and most state supreme court
State supreme court
In the United States, the state supreme court is the highest state court in the state court system ....

s, have discretionary jurisdiction
Discretionary jurisdiction
Discretionary jurisdiction is a legal term used to describe a circumstance where a court has the power to decide whether to hear a particular case brought before it...

, meaning that they can choose which cases to hear from among all the cases presented on appeal. Such courts generally only choose to hear cases that would settle important and controversial points of law. Though these courts have discretion to deny cases they otherwise could adjudicate, no court has the discretion to hear a case that falls outside of its subject-matter jurisdiction.

It is also necessary to distinguish between original jurisdiction
Original jurisdiction
The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a court has the power to review a lower court's decision.-France:...

 and appellate jurisdiction
Appellate jurisdiction
Appellate jurisdiction is the power of the Supreme Court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right...

. A court of original jurisdiction has the power to hear cases as they are first initiated by a plaintiff
Plaintiff
A plaintiff , also known as a claimant or complainant, is the term used in some jurisdictions for the party who initiates a lawsuit before a court...

, while a court of appellate jurisdiction may only hear an action after the court of original jurisdiction (or a lower appellate court) has heard the matter. For example, in United States federal courts
United States federal courts
The United States federal courts make up the judiciary branch of federal government of the United States organized under the United States Constitution and laws of the federal government.-Categories:...

, the United States district courts have original jurisdiction over a number of different matters (as mentioned above), and the United States court of appeals
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

 have appellate jurisdiction over matters appealed from the district courts. The U.S. Supreme Court, in turn, has appellate jurisdiction (of a discretionary nature) over the Courts of Appeals, as well as the state supreme courts, by means of writ of certiorari.

However, in a special class of cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has the power to exercise original jurisdiction. Under , the Supreme court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over controversies between two or more states, and original (but non-exclusive) jurisdiction over cases involving officials of foreign states, controversies between the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 and a state, actions by a state against the citizens of another state or foreign country.

The word "jurisdiction" is also used, especially in informal writing, to refer to a state or political subdivision generally, or to its government, rather than to its legal authority.

Franchise jurisdiction


In the history of English common law, a jurisdiction could be held as a form of property (or more precisely an incorporeal hereditament) called a franchise
Exclusive right
In Anglo-Saxon law, an exclusive right is a de facto, non-tangible prerogative existing in law to perform an action or acquire a benefit and to permit or deny others the right to perform the same action or to acquire the same benefit. A "prerogative" is in effect an exclusive right...

. Traditional franchise jurisdictions of various powers were held by municipal corporations, religious houses
Abbey
An abbey is a Catholic monastery or convent, under the authority of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.The term can also refer to an establishment which has long ceased to function as an abbey,...

, guilds, early universities, Welsh Marches
Welsh Marches
The Welsh Marches is a term which, in modern usage, denotes an imprecisely defined area along and around the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom. The precise meaning of the term has varied at different periods...

, and Counties Palatine
County palatine
A county palatine or palatinate is an area ruled by an hereditary nobleman possessing special authority and autonomy from the rest of a kingdom or empire. The name derives from the Latin adjective palatinus, "relating to the palace", from the noun palatium, "palace"...

. Types of franchise courts included Courts Baron
Court baron
A Court baron is an English or Scottish manorial court dating from the Middle Ages.It was laid down by Sir Edward Coke that a manor had two courts, "the first by the common law, and is called a court baron," the freeholders being its suitors; the other a customary court for the copyholders...

, Courts Leet
Court leet
The court leet was a historical court baron of England and Wales and Ireland that exercised the "view of frankpledge" and its attendant police jurisdiction, which was normally restricted to the hundred courts.-History:...

, merchant courts, and the Stannary Courts
Stannary Courts and Parliaments
The Stannary Parliaments and Stannary Courts were legislative and legal institutions in Cornwall and in Devon , England. The Stannary Courts administered equity for the region's tin-miners and tin mining interests, and they were also courts of record for the towns dependent on the mines...

 which dealt with disputes involving the tin miners of Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

. The original royal charter
Royal Charter
A royal charter is a formal document issued by a monarch as letters patent, granting a right or power to an individual or a body corporate. They were, and are still, used to establish significant organizations such as cities or universities. Charters should be distinguished from warrants and...

s of the American colonies included broad grants of franchise jurisdiction along with other governmental powers to corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s or individuals, as did the charters for many other colonial companies such as the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 and British South Africa Company
British South Africa Company
The British South Africa Company was established by Cecil Rhodes through the amalgamation of the Central Search Association and the Exploring Company Ltd., receiving a royal charter in 1889...

. Analogous jurisdiction existed in medieval times on the European Continent. Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, franchise jurisdictions were largely eliminated. Several formerly important franchise courts were not officially abolished until Courts Act of 1971
Courts Act 1971
The Courts Act 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom the purpose of which was to reform and modernise the courts system of England and Wales....

.

See also

  • Guantánamo Bay Naval Base
    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is located on of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba which the United States leased for use as a coaling station following the Cuban-American Treaty of 1903. The base is located on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas...

  • Labor unions in the United States
    Labor unions in the United States
    Labor unions in the United States are legally recognized as representatives of workers in many industries. The most prominent unions are among public sector employees such as teachers and police...

     - a different use of the word jurisdiction
  • Law enforcement agency
    Law enforcement agency
    In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

     - a different use of the word jurisdiction
  • Lawsuits against God
    Lawsuits against God
    Lawsuits against God have occurred in real life and in fiction. Issues debated in the actions include the problem of evil and harmful "acts of God".- Ernie Chambers :In the U.S...

  • Rasul v. Bush
    Rasul v. Bush
    Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision establishing that the U.S. court system has the authority to decide whether foreign nationals held in Guantanamo Bay were wrongfully imprisoned...

  • Private jurisdiction
    Private jurisdiction
    Private jurisdiction is the right of an indiviual or a legal entity to establish courts of law. It was prevalent during feudalism.A franchise, such as a corporation, a jurisdiction, or a right to collect certain tolls or taxes, was, in effect, a kind of property: an "incorporeal hereditament"...


External links