jurisdiction

noun
ju·​ris·​dic·​tion | \ˌju̇r-əs-ˈdik-shən \

Definition of jurisdiction 

1 : the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law a matter that falls within the court's jurisdiction

2a : 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

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Other Words from jurisdiction

jurisdictional \ˌju̇r-​əs-​ˈdik-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective
jurisdictionally adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for jurisdiction

power, authority, jurisdiction, control, command, sway, dominion mean the right to govern or rule or determine. power implies possession of ability to wield force, authority, or influence. the power to mold public opinion authority implies power for a specific purpose within specified limits. granted the authority to manage her estate jurisdiction applies to official power exercised within prescribed limits. the bureau having jurisdiction over parks control stresses the power to direct and restrain. you are responsible for the students under your control command implies the power to make arbitrary decisions and compel obedience. the army officer in command sway suggests the extent of exercised power or influence. the empire extended its sway over the region dominion stresses sovereign power or supreme authority. given dominion over all the animals

Did You Know?

Questions of jurisdiction are generally technical legal matters. The most important ones include which court will hear a given case and which law-enforcement agency can get involved. But although they may seem like mere technicalities, jurisdictional matters sometimes turn out to be all-important in the final outcome. Jurisdiction may depend on where you are (for example, in which state), on who you are (if you're a juvenile, for example, you may only be tried in juvenile court), and on what the subject is (for example, cases involving the estate left by someone who has died are dealt with in probate court).

Examples of jurisdiction in a Sentence

The court has jurisdiction over most criminal offenses. His attorney claimed the court lacked jurisdiction in this matter. The matter falls outside the jurisdiction of this court. territory under the jurisdiction of the federal government He was arrested in another jurisdiction.
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Recent Examples on the Web

These jurisdictions now face the tricky question of whether to prosecute Little. Kyle Swenson, The Seattle Times, "Elderly prisoner claims he’s America’s deadliest serial killer with 90 victims. Police believe him.," 20 Nov. 2018 The system serves the city well in normal day-to-day operations but presented coordination challenges across jurisdictions during the massive crisis at the school on Feb. 14. Megan O'matz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "First 911 calls reveal further confusion in Parkland shooting response," 26 June 2018 Thus far, the fight to regulate video game loot boxes has been a piecemeal effort moving forward in very different ways in different jurisdictions. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "15 countries and one US state team up to fight gambling in video games," 17 Sep. 2018 Sessions was in Concord Thursday to unveil a plan to beef up the ranks of federal prosecutors going after fentanyl dealers in jurisdictions hit hardest by the overdose epidemic, including New Hampshire. Travis Andersen, BostonGlobe.com, "Sessions singles out ‘sanctuary city of Lawrence’ in N.H. opioid speech," 12 July 2018 Other states, such as Louisiana, have addressed the issue legislatively, by creating across-the-board parole eligibility — though in some jurisdictions that still means few, if any, lifers are actually being released. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "Why are juvenile lifers from Philly getting radically different sentences than those in the rest of Pennsylvania?," 10 July 2018 Manafort is awaiting separate trials in two jurisdictions — Washington and Alexandria — on a raft of fraud, money laundering and other charges stemming from his lucrative lobbying work in Ukraine. NBC News, "Paul Manafort being transferred to jail closer to Washington," 10 July 2018 In the suit, the airlines said a flight crew could be in several different jurisdictions during the course of a single flight. Jeff Green, latimes.com, "Airlines and railroads say local sick-pay laws don’t apply to them," 29 June 2018 Penn National currently has casinos in 17 jurisdictions. Karen Caffarini, Post-Tribune, "Indiana Gaming Commission approves Ameristar acquisition," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jurisdiction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jurisdiction

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for 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

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Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

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The first known use of jurisdiction was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for jurisdiction

jurisdiction

noun

English Language Learners Definition of jurisdiction

: 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

jurisdiction

noun
ju·​ris·​dic·​tion | \ˌju̇r-əs-ˈdik-shən \

Legal Definition of jurisdiction 

1 : the power, right, or authority to interpret, apply, and declare the law (as by rendering a decision) to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crimeU.S. Constitution art. IV a court of competent jurisdiction — see also situs, International Shoe Co. v. Washington — compare venue

Note: Jurisdiction determines which court system should properly adjudicate a case. Questions of jurisdiction also arise regarding quasi-judicial bodies (as administrative agencies) in their decision-making capacities.

alienage jurisdiction

: jurisdiction granted to federal courts over civil disputes between a state or citizen and a foreign state or citizens or subjects of a foreign state

ancillary jurisdiction

: jurisdiction giving a court the power to adjudicate claims (as counterclaims and cross-claims) because they arise from a cause of action over which the court has original jurisdiction specifically : supplemental jurisdiction acquired by a federal court allowing it to adjudicate claims that are based on state law but that form part of a case brought to the court under its diversity jurisdiction — compare pendent jurisdiction in this entry

Note: Ancillary jurisdiction allows a single court to decide an entire case instead of dividing the claims among several courts and proceedings, and allows a federal court to decide a claim that would otherwise be properly brought to a state court.

appellate jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction granted to particular courts to hear appeals of the decisions of lower tribunals and to reverse, affirm, or modify those decisions — compare original jurisdiction in this entry

concurrent jurisdiction

: jurisdiction that is shared by different courts and that may allow for removal two states may have concurrent jurisdiction over crimes committed on boundary rivers— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.

consent jurisdiction

: jurisdiction granted by consent of the parties

diversity jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction granted to federal courts over civil disputes involving parties having diverse citizenship (as in being from different states) where the matter in controversy exceeds a statutory amount (as $75,000)

Note: The diversity jurisdiction of the district courts requires that there be complete diversity of the parties, which means that no party on one side has the same citizenship as a party on the other side. Interpleader in federal district courts, however, requires only minimal diversity, which means that at least one party has citizenship that differs from the others. The federal courts have traditionally refused to exercise their diversity jurisdiction over cases involving domestic relations and probate.

exclusive jurisdiction

: jurisdiction granted only to a particular court to the exclusion of others federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases

federal question jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction granted to federal courts over civil actions arising under the Constitution, federal laws, or treaties of the U.S. : federal jurisdiction over cases involving a federal question — see also well-pleaded complaint rule

Note: The federal courts have usually interpreted the statutory phrase “arising under” rather strictly. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have held that the plaintiff's pleading must establish that the cause of action raises an issue of federal law (as by depending on construction or application of a federal law).

general jurisdiction

: jurisdiction that is not limited (as to a particular class of cases) specifically : the personal jurisdiction granted a court over a party allowing the court to adjudicate a cause of action that does not arise out of or is not related to the party's contacts within the territory of that court

in personam jurisdiction \ˌin-​pər-​ˈsō-​nəm-​, -​per-​ˈsō-​näm-​ \

: the jurisdiction granted a court over persons before it that allows the court to issue a binding judgment : personal jurisdiction in this entry

in rem jurisdiction \in-​ˈrem-​ \

: the jurisdiction granted a court over property that allows the court to issue binding judgments (as an order for partition) affecting a person's interests in the property — compare personal jurisdiction in this entry

jurisdiction in personam

: in personam jurisdiction in this entry

jurisdiction in rem

: in rem jurisdiction in this entry

limited jurisdiction

: jurisdiction that is restricted (as to a type of case)

original jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction granted a court to try a case in the first instance, make findings of fact, and render a usually appealable decision the district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United StatesU.S. Code

pendent jurisdiction

: supplemental jurisdiction that allows a federal court to adjudicate state law claims which form part of a case that was brought to it under its federal question jurisdiction also : pendent party jurisdiction in this entry — compare ancillary jurisdiction in this entry

pendent party jurisdiction

: supplemental jurisdiction that allows a federal court to adjudicate a state law claim asserted against a third party which is part of a case brought to it under its original jurisdiction

personal jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction granted a court over the parties before it that allows it to issue a binding judgment — see also doing business statute, fair play and substantial justice, long-arm statute, minimum contacts — compare subject matter jurisdiction in this entry

Note: The U.S. Supreme Court has held in a series of decisions that the exercise of personal jurisdiction must meet the requirements of due process and must not violate notions of fair play and substantial justice. The constitutional standard to determine whether a party is subject to the personal jurisdiction of a court is whether that party has had minimum contacts within the territory (as a state) of that court.

primary jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction granted by a judicially created doctrine to an administrative agency to decide certain controversies initially before relief is sought in the courts — compare exhaustion of remedies

quasi in rem jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction of a court over a person which is based on the person's interests in property under the court's jurisdiction and which allows the court to issue a binding judgment against the person — see also sequestration — compare personal jurisdiction in this entry

specific jurisdiction

: personal jurisdiction granted a court over a party that allows it to adjudicate only a cause of action that arises out of or is related to the party's contacts within the territory of that court — compare general jurisdiction in this entry

subject matter jurisdiction

: the jurisdiction of a court over the subject, type, or cause of action of a case that allows the court to issue a binding judgment housing court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate fraudulent conveyance actionsNational Law Journal — compare personal jurisdiction in this entry

Note: Diversity jurisdiction, federal question jurisdiction, and jurisdiction over admiralty and bankruptcy cases are examples of the federal courts' subject matter jurisdiction. Subject matter jurisdiction is generally established by statute.

supplemental jurisdiction

: jurisdiction granted federal courts over claims that could not be heard in a federal court on their own but that are so closely related to claims over which the court has original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case — see also ancillary jurisdiction and pendent jurisdiction in this entry

Note: Supplemental jurisdiction was created by a federal statute that codified the judicially created doctrines of ancillary and pendent jurisdiction.

2 : the authority (as of a state) to govern or legislate the trade bill was within the Ways and Means committee's jurisdiction whether a foreign state shall be subject to the jurisdiction of another broadly : the power or right to exercise authority the department of consumer affairs has jurisdiction over such complaints

3 : the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other StateU.S. Constitution art. IV

called also territorial jurisdiction

Other Words from jurisdiction

jurisdictional \-​shə-​nəl \ adjective
jurisdictionally adverb

History and Etymology for jurisdiction

Latin jurisdictio, from juris, genitive of jus law + dictio act of saying, from dicere to say

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