Jurisdiction is a power which defines whether a court can examine certain offences and defines if a government agency or court can apply its legal authority on some territory.
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The concept of jurisdiction can be shown on example of state courts and federal court. For example, if a citizen of Virginia sued a citizen of North Carolina because of an improper use of his property which was lend to him and is situated in Georgia. The case could be examined ether by the court of Virginia or North Caroline, because this is where the parties live, or in the state of Georgia on behalf of situated property. However the federal court has a much more broad jurisdiction. State courts are limited by their boundaries, on the contrary - federal courts have the power over the whole nation. Supreme Court can take over the offences from any state.
Jurisdiction is divided in three types: subject matter jurisdiction, geographic jurisdiction and hierarchical jurisdiction.
Subject matter jurisdiction defines the matter of the case and if the court has power to hear the specific claim in a specific court. The subject matter jurisdiction concerns the courts of limited jurisdiction and the courts of general jurisdiction. For instance, mainly the misdemeanor offences and preliminary hearings are taken by the courts of limited jurisdictions. On the other hand, if the money value of the offence is high, more likely the case will be taken to court of general jurisdiction. For example, if the stolen property cost is USD1000, the case will be taken over the court of limited jurisdiction (e.g. city court), but if the amount is higher than USD10 000, the case should be handled by the court of general jurisdiction. Mainly, the jurisdiction is defined by the money value of the offence.
Geographic jurisdiction is defined by the political boundaries were the crime was committed. It can be also referred as territorial jurisdiction. This type of jurisdiction is the clearest of all. If the crime was committed on the specific territory, the jurisdiction of this territory will be used when hearing the case in court. Although geographic jurisdiction applies to all offences, the status of the offender – military or civilian- takes antecedence over geographic jurisdiction. For example, if the offender is a military and he committed crime in Florida, the Florida state would not have the jurisdiction upon him, but military court would take over the case. Also, if any civilian commits a crime on the territory of any military object or National Park, reservation or fort located in any state of America, the geographic jurisdiction will not apply.
Hierarchical jurisdiction applies to the differences in the courts functions and responsibilities. There are two types: original court and appellate. If the court has original jurisdiction, it has authority to revise and decide the case. If the court has appellate jurisdiction, it has the authority to revise cases witch were already revised by other courts. In case some argues were already revised by an original court and the offended want to raise the case once again, it will be revised by the court of appellate jurisdiction.
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