noun \ˌjr-əs-ˈdik-shən\

: the power or right to make judgments about the law, to arrest and punish criminals, etc.

: the power or right to govern an area

: an area within which a particular system of laws is used

Full Definition of JURISDICTION

:  the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law
a :  the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate
b :  the power or right to exercise authority :  control
:  the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised
ju·ris·dic·tion·al \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
ju·ris·dic·tion·al·ly adverb


  1. The court has jurisdiction over most criminal offenses.
  2. His attorney claimed the court lacked jurisdiction in this matter.
  3. The matter falls outside the jurisdiction of this court.
  4. territory under the jurisdiction of the federal government
  5. He was arrested in another jurisdiction.


Middle English jurisdiccioun, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French jurisdiction, from Latin jurisdiction-, jurisdictio, from juris + diction-, dictio act of saying — more at diction
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Authority of a court to hear and determine cases. This authority is constitutionally based. Examples of judicial jurisdiction are: appellate jurisdiction, in which a superior court has power to correct legal errors made in a lower court; concurrent jurisdiction, in which a suit might be brought to any of two or more courts; and federal jurisdiction. A court may also have authority to operate within a certain territory. Summary jurisdiction, in which a magistrate or judge has power to conduct proceedings resulting in a conviction without jury trial, is limited in the U.S. to petty offenses.


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