VENUE and JURISDICTION
Two legal terms that are often confused by laypeople are VENUE and JURISDICTION. Venue quite simply is the location in which court is convened.
Jurisdiction has many facets dealing with the various aspects and modalities of law and justice, i.e., Tort (Civil) law, Admiralty/Law Merchant Contract law, Real Property law, Statute law, Criminal Law, and Constitutional law, to name a few of the fields of jurisprudence. The court must be sitting in the proper jurisdition to render Justice. No court has the discretion to hear a case that falls outside of its subject-matter jurisdiction.
Most local courts today sit in the jurisdiction of Admiralty/Law Merchant Contract law utilizing the Uniform Commercial Code as the authority for their moving.
venue n. 1) the proper or most convenient location for trial of a case. Normally, the venue in a criminal case is the judicial district or county where the crime was committed. For civil cases, venue is usually the district or county which is the residence of a principal defendant, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident took place. However, the parties may agree to a different venue for convenience (such as where most witnesses are located). Sometimes a lawsuit is filed in a district or county which is not the proper venue, and if the defendant immediately objects (asks for a change of venue), the court will order transfer of the case to the proper venue. Example: a promissory note states that any suit for collection must be filed in Washington County, Indiana, and the case is filed in Lake County, Indiana. In high profile criminal cases the original venue may be considered not the best venue due to possible prejudice stemming from pre-trial publicity in the area or public sentiment about the case which might impact upon potential jurors. For these various reasons either party may move (ask) for a change of venue, which is up to the discretion of a judge in the court where the case or prosecution was originally filed. Venue is not to be confused with "jurisdiction," which establishes the right to bring a lawsuit (often anywhere within a state) whether or not it is the most convenient or appropriate location.
The latin term "forum non conveniens" (for-uhm nahn cahn-veen-nee-ehns) n. Latin for a forum which is not convenient. This doctrine is employed when the court chosen by the plaintiff (the party suing) is inconvenient for witnesses or poses an undue hardship on the defendants, who must petition the court for an order transferring the case to a more convenient court. A typical example is a lawsuit arising from an accident involving an out-of-state resident who files the complaint in his/her home state (or in the defendant driver's home state), when the witnesses and doctors who treated the plaintiff are in the state where the accident occurred, which makes the latter state the most convenient location for trial.)
In law,jurisdiction refers to the aspect of any unique legal authority as being localized within the territorial boundaries of a nation or state. Where an established legal authority is widely recognized, "jurisdiction" simply refers to matters of law which fall under the power of the legal authority to arbitrate. Matters for legal arbitration may or may not fall within its jurisdiction — i.e. discrete geographic regions, people, Constitutional authority, Sovereignty, or other legal concepts and constructs.
In a global context, jurisdiction often refers to particular regions under the control of unique local legal authorities and the outcome is often a complicated patchwork of overlapping provisions. For example, the Member States of the EEC signed the Brussels Convention in 1968 and, subject to amendments as new states joined, it represents the default law for all twenty-five Member States of what is now termed the European Union. In addition, the Lugano Convention (1988) binds the European Union and the European Free Trade Area. With effect from 1 March 2002, all the Member States of the EU except Denmark accepted Council Regulation (EC) 44/2001, which makes major changes to the Brussels Convention and is directly effective in the Member States. At a state level, the traditional rules still determine jurisdiction over persons who are not domiciled or habitually resident in the European Union or the Lugano area.
In areas where a legal authority is not widely recognized, an executive authority may have an "executive jurisdiction." Likewise "executive authority" may refer to any non-legal authority, or any authority whose force of arms supersede those of a local legal authority.
The concept of universal jurisdiction is fundamental to the United Nations, and the World Court, which assert the benefit and feasibility of fostering an overarching legal entity, with jurisdiction over such matters as war crimes, sovereignty, and human rights. The concept of universal jurisdiction is controversial among those who typically prefer to evoke executive or military authority, through realpolitik-based diplomacy, and is totally foreign to United States Constitutional Jurisdiction.
Distinctions between areas of jurisdiction are typically codified in a national constitution. In most common law systems, jurisdiction is conceptually divided between jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case and jurisdiction over the personae of the litigants. (See personal jurisdiction.) Sometimes a court may exercise jurisdiction over property located within the perimeter of its powers without regard to personal jurisdiction over the litigants; this is called jurisdiction in rem.
A court whose subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to certain types of controversies (for example, suits in admiralty or suits where the monetary amount sought is less than a specified sum) is sometimes referred to as a court of special jurisdiction or court of limited jurisdiction.
A court whose subject-matter is not limited to certain types of controversy is referred to as a court of general jurisdiction. In the United States, each state has courts of general jurisdiction; most states also have some courts of limited jurisdiction. Federal courts (those operated by the federal government) are courts of limited jurisdiction. Federal jurisdiction is divided into federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. The United States District Courts may hear only cases arising under federal law and treaties, cases involving ambassadors, admiralty cases, controversies between states or between a state and citizens of another state, lawsuits involving citizens of different states, and against foreign states and citizens.
Certain courts, particularly the United States Supreme Court and most state supreme courts, have discretionary jurisdiction, meaning that they can choose which cases to hear from among all the cases presented on appeal. Such courts generally only choose to hear cases that would settle important and controversial points of law. Though these courts have discretion to deny cases they otherwise could adjudicate, no court has the discretion to hear a case that falls outside of its subject-matter jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction also denotes the area over which the executive or legislative powers or laws of a government extend. Similarly, the term also denotes the territory over which a state exerts or claims sovereignty or power (sometimes known as territorial jurisdiction).
In private international law, a supranational organization (e.g. the European Union), a nation-state, or a province (i.e. a subnational "state") in a federation (as can be found in Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico and the United States), may all exercise jurisdiction although the problem of forum shopping is growing.
Sometimes when the areas of separate governmental entities overlap one another—for example, between a state and the federation to which it belongs—their jurisdiction is shared or concurrent jurisdiction. Otherwise one governmental entity will have exclusive jurisdiction over the shared area. When jurisdiction is concurrent, one governmental entity may have supreme jurisdiction over the other entity if their laws conflict. If the executive or legislative powers within the jurisdiction are not restricted or restricted only by a number of limited restrictions, these government branches have plenary power such as the police power. Otherwise an enabling act grants only limited or enumerated powers.
Jurisdiction of Labor Unions
Labor unions use the term jurisdiction to refer to their claims to represent workers who perform a certain type of work and the right of their members to perform such work, e.g., the work of unloading containerized cargo at United States ports, which both the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have claimed rightfully should be assigned to workers they represent. A jurisdictional strike is a concerted refusal to work undertaken by a union to assert its members’ right to such job assignments and to protest the assignment of disputed work to members of another union or to unorganized workers. Jurisdictional strikes occur most frequently in the United States in the construction industry.
Unions also use jurisdiction to refer to the geographical boundaries of their operations, as in those cases in which a national or international union allocates the right to represent workers among different local unions based on the place of those workers' employment, either along geographical lines or by adopting the boundaries between political jurisdictions.
Jurisdiction of (or over) the person, or jurisdiction in personam is the power of a court to require a party (usually the defendant) or a witness to come before the court. The court must have personal jurisdiction to enforce its judgments or orders against a party.
Personal jurisdiction is distinguished from subject-matter jurisdiction, jurisdiction in rem and "long arm jurisdiction".
Methods of acquiring personal jurisdiction
In a civil case, personal jurisdiction over a defendant is obtained by service of a summons. Personal jurisdiction over a witness is obtained by service of a subpoena. Service can be accomplished by personal delivery of the summons or subpoena to the person or an authorized agent of the person. Service may also be made by substituted means; for example, in many jurisdictions, service of a summons can be made on a person of suitable age and discretion at the residence or place of business of the defendant. Jurisdiction over corporations can often be obtained through a government body authorized to receive such process. In some jurisdictions the Clerk of the Court may be authorized to accept legal process for persons who cannot otherwise be found.
Traditionally, in civil proceedings in the United States, the defendant was required to be physically present, at the time he or she was served with a summons, in the state where the court sits. Over the years, the reach of personal jurisdiction was expanded by judicial interpretations and legislative enactments. For example, states in the United States have statutes that govern obtaining personal jurisdiction over out-of-state motorists who are involved in accidents within a state. In addition, the states have enacted provisions for "long arm jurisdiction," by which the courts can exercise jurisdiction over a business entity or individual located outside the state, if (for example) the out-of-state entity or individual regularly does business in the state or transacted business with the plaintiff within the state.
The Supreme Court of the United States has held that constitutional requirements of due process limit the state courts' exercise of personal jurisdiction over nonresidents.
In general, to be subject to personal jurisdiction, a defendant that was not personally served with process within the state must have a sufficient level of personal or business contacts with the state in which the court sits that the defendant could reasonbly expect to be sued there. These contacts are generally referred to by the term of art "minimum contacts". Generally speaking, a party is subject to personal jurisdiction in a state if the party has purposely availed itself of the resources of protection of the state. See. e.g., Pennoyer v. Neff and International Shoe v. Washington.
Normally, the personal jurisdiction of a United States District Court is concurrent with the personal jurisdiction of the courts of the state in which it sits. In some circumstances, however, statutes and rules of court allow the federal District Courts to exercise nationwide personal jurisdiction or to exercise personal jurisdiction over foreign persons or entities based on their contacts with the United States as a whole.
General and Specific Jurisdiction
Personal jurisdiction in the United States is divided into two categories. A court may exercise jurisdiction if it finds either general or specific jurisdiction over a party. General jurisdiction exists when a party has extensive ("continuous and systematic") dealings with the forum administered by the court. Specific jurisdiction is present when a party performed some activity in the territory without which the present action before the court could not have been brought.
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