Literally means the right to make law. Its legal meaning is the persons, property, territory, or activities falling within the authority of a state or court. Obtaining jurisdiction in international litigation is a key issue; you cannot sue someone or a business unless the court you bring suit in has a basis for jurisdiction over the parties or (in certain cases) their assets. In addition, there is a second problem, subject matter jurisdiction, which relates to the authority of the court or tribunal to consider the specific issues in suit.

In the United States, the word jurisdiction is used in a number of ways:

Federal Jurisdiction means that a matter falls under the authority of the Federal Courts, which usually arises when the case is under a Federal Law such as copyright, patent, Lanham Act Trademark Cases, Federal Antitrust or cases involving diversity of citizenship (i.e., in-state and out of state parties) and substantial sums of money;

State Jurisdiction places the matter in state courts; and jurisdiction is also used in the sense of which Federal Judicial District the case can be brought in.

In the EU national courts can apply European Union/Community law, but must refer questions of European law (i.e., meaning and interpretation) to the European Courts (i.e., the ECJ and CFI) See Venue, Personal Jurisdiction, Federal Question Jurisdiction, Pendent Jurisdiction, Diversity Jurisdiction, Ancillary Jurisdiction, Supplemental Jurisdiction.

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