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jurisdiction noun

the power of a court, authority or other official body to decide a legal case or to make an order. This is also referred to as competent jurisdiction, as in the court of competent jurisdiction.
The High Court has jurisdiction over criminal cases in this district.

Definitions & Examples

the extent of this power
Title 28 of the United States Code gives the United States district courts exclusive jurisdiction over all matters arising in bankruptcy with few exceptions.
the territory in which this power exists
The jurisdiction of the European Union includes all of the member states.
the area in which a particular legal system operates
Legal concepts in English speaking jurisdictions do not always correspond to legal concepts in other jurisdictions.
the system of law courts that make up a particular legal system
In many jurisdictions, the use of the name veterinarian is restricted by law to persons with specific degrees or licenses.

Phrase Bank

The court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction
Diplomats are exempt from the jurisdiction of the receiving state
The civil court found that it had no jurisdiction over the matter
A party doing business in another state is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of that state
The territory is within the country's jurisdiction
The Special Peacekeeping Forces are under the jurisdiction of the United Nations
The District Court has original jurisdiction while the Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction.

Additional Notes

exclusive jurisdiction: where one court has the power to decide a case to the exclusion of all other courts. It is the opposite situation from concurrent jurisdiction, in which more than one court may take jurisdiction over the case
original jurisdiction: the right of a court to hear the case for the first time, as opposed to the jurisdiction to hear the case on appeal, which is known as appellate jurisdiction
extradition: the process by which a suspected criminal who has fled to another jurisdiction is returned to the jurisdiction where the crime occurred

Common Mistakes

Do not confuse jurisdiction with jurisprudence.