In law, jurisdiction (from Latin ius, iuris meaning "law" and dicere meaning "to speak") is the power of a court to adjudicate cases and issue orders. Jurisdiction can also be referred to as the territory within which a court or government agency may properly exercise its power.
There are many different categories of jurisdiction. The most commonly discussed forms are:
- In rem jurisdiction: jurisdiction over a thing (i.e., during divorce proceedings, the court exercises in rem jurisdiction over the marriage)
- In personal jurisdiction: the court's jurisdiction over a person
- Subject-matter jurisdiction: jurisdiction over the type of claim brought by the plaintiff (i.e., a small claims court only has subject matter jurisdiction of claims up to a certain dollar amount)
- Federal or state jurisdiction: the federal courts' jurisdiction over federal questions and suits between diverse parties
- Original jurisdiction: the court's authority to hear the claim in the first instance, rather than on appeal
- Pendent jurisdiction: the authority of a federal district court to hear a state claim when it shares a common factual basis with the federal claim