Subject Matter Jurisdiction v. Personal Jurisdiction
Taking a quick trip back to Civil Procedure 101, in order for an individual to bring a case before the court, the court must have jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is defined as the power and authority constitutionally conferred, or existing, upon a court or judge to pronounce the sentence of the law, or to award the remedies provided by law, upon a state of facts, proved or admitted, referred to the tribunal for decision, and authorized by law to be the subject of investigation or action by that tribunal, and in favor of or against persons (or a res) who present themselves, or who are brought, before the court in some manner sanctioned by law as proper and sufficient. In laymen’s terms, this means, can the court hear the subject of the action and does it have authority over the parties to the action.
Having the ability to hear the subject of the action is what we refer to as Subject Matter Jurisdiction. This is important because different courts have different jurisdictions to hear different types of matters. For instance, if you need to probate your grandparent’s estate, this matter would be heard before the County Court. If you were attempting to divorce your spouse, the District Court has the subject matter jurisdiction to hear this action. If you are filing for bankruptcy relief, the Federal Court has jurisdiction to hear your matter.
In addition to Subject Matter Jurisdiction, the court must also have Personal Jurisdiction over the parties named in the case. Without Personal Jurisdiction, the Court’s orders cannot have any effect on the parties to the case. Generally speaking, the courts in a state have personal jurisdiction over all people or businesses that are citizens of or do business in that state. There are intricacies that can come into play in certain cases, and we can address those with you if necessary.
Husker Law can guide you through the nuances associated with jurisdiction in your particular case. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.