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Know Your Terms: “Jurisdiction”

People associate the term “jurisdiction” with law enforcement officers in movies and TV shows making arrests, or rather being prevented due to their jurisdiction. However, when it comes to legal matters, jurisdiction is very complicated and incredibly important. Todd R. Durham wants his clients to be well informed about every step of the legal process, including terms like “jurisdiction.” Here is a brief summary about court jurisdiction and why it is important.

Jurisdiction Defined

Jurisdiction is the authority given by law to a court to rule on legal matters within an area and over certain types of cases. Before you file suit, you need to make sure you file in the right jurisdiction. While this sounds simple enough, things can get a bit convoluted. For example, if you were involved in a car accident, you would likely file suit in the city in which the accident occurred. However, if both you and the defendant are both from another state, it may be more convenient for you both to file elsewhere. In order to determine proper jurisdiction, you need to discuss the facts of your case with your attorney.

Why is Jurisdiction Important?

If a court doesn’t have proper jurisdiction over a case, it cannot make a decision about that case. Filing in the wrong jurisdiction means you may waste money and time, as the court will refuse to hear your case. Jurisdiction can also determine whether to file your case in state or federal court. For a proper filing you need both personal jurisdiction (jurisdiction over a person) and subject matter jurisdiction (jurisdiction over the case’s subject), determining the right jurisdiction is one of the most important first decisions you will make in your case. Make sure you have an experienced attorney who can guide you on exactly where to file.

For more information regarding jurisdiction and where to file your case, contact Todd R. Durham today. Call (214) 222-4000 to schedule your initial consultation.

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