- Date: 14th century
- 1 : the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law
- 2 a : the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate
- b : the power or right to exercise authority : control
- 3 : the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised
Jurisdiction (from the Latin ius, iuris meaning "law" and dicere meaning "to speak") is the practical authority 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 within a defined area of responsibility.
Alternatively Adjudicate and enforce legal matters. 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, constitutional law and the powers of the executive and legislative branches of government to allocate resources to best serve the needs of its native society.
There are three main principles of judicial jurisdiction: personal (personam), territorial (locum), and subject matter (subjectam):
- Personal jurisdiction is an authority over a person, regardless of their location.
- Territorial jurisdiction is an authority confined to a bounded space, including all those present therein, and events which occur there.
- Subject Matter jurisdiction is an authority over the subject of the legal questions involved in the case.
Courts may also have jurisdiction that is exclusive, or concurrent (shared). Where a court has exclusive jurisdiction over a territory or a subject matter, it is the only court that is authorized to address that matter. Where a court has concurrent or shared jurisdiction, more than one court can adjudicate the matter. Where a concurrent jurisdiction exists in a civil case, a party may attempt to engage in forum shopping, by bringing the case to a court which it presumes would rule in its favor.