jurisdiction

noun

ju·​ris·​dic·​tion ˌju̇r-əs-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce jurisdiction (audio)
1
: the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law
a matter that falls within the court's jurisdiction
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
jurisdictional
ˌju̇r-əs-ˈdik-sh(ə-)nəl
 How to pronounce jurisdiction (audio)
adjective
jurisdictionally adverb

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).

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The case will test whether the FDA has the statutory authority to regulate such tests as medical devices, the classification it’s used to assert jurisdiction over them. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 5 July 2024 County courts have jurisdiction over all misdemeanors, including serious traffic offenses, landlord-tenant disputes and all lawsuits involving less than $50,000, including small claims. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 4 July 2024 Almost all jurisdictions in Wyoming have operating hours of 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. the following morning. Julia Gomez, USA TODAY, 3 July 2024 But the $250-million-per-year program, which offers awards open only to EPSCoR states as well as helping to fund regular NSF grants to scientists in EPSCoR jurisdictions, has barely shifted the overall geographic distribution of NSF’s research dollars. science.org, 2 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for jurisdiction 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'jurisdiction.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near jurisdiction

Cite this Entry

“Jurisdiction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jurisdiction. Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

jurisdiction

noun
ju·​ris·​dic·​tion ˌju̇r-əs-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce jurisdiction (audio)
1
: the power, right, or authority to interpret and apply the law
2
: the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate
3
: the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised

Legal Definition

jurisdiction

noun
ju·​ris·​dic·​tion ˌju̇r-əs-ˈdik-shən How to pronounce jurisdiction (audio)
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 riversW. 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

jurisdictional adjective
jurisdictionally adverb
Etymology

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

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