29/9/17 The Meaning of Jurisdiction

The Meaning of Jurisdiction

This term refers to the legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case.
It also is used as a synonym for venue, meaning the geographic area over which the court has territorial jurisdiction to decide cases.
The term jurisdiction is derived from the two Latin terms- ius, iuris meaning “law” and dicere meaning “to speak”.  Jurisdiction is therefore the authority to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility.  Jurisdiction also denotes the geographical area or subject-matter to which such authority applies.

There are three main types of judicial jurisdiction: personal, territorial and subject matter:

  • Personal jurisdiction is the authority over a person, regardless of their location.
  • Territorial jurisdiction is the authority confined to a bounded space, including all those present therein, and events which occur there.
  • Subject Matter jurisdiction is the authority over the subject of the legal questions involved in the case.

In our next e-Legal Lesson, we’ll analyze other types of jurisdiction.