Original Jurisdiction

Original Jurisdiction in the United States

The authority of a court initially to hear and determine a legal question. Original jurisdiction is vested with trial courts rather than appellate courts, although Article III extends limited original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court. Various trial courts are assigned specific original jurisdictions, which are defined in terms of subject matter or party. Original jurisdiction in civil cases is often divided on the basis of the monetary value of the action. Cases involving large amounts of money generally are assigned to the principal court of general jurisdiction while lesser amounts typically are given to courts of limited jurisdiction. Similarly, felony-level criminal matters are usually heard by general jurisdiction courts while misdemeanors are adjudicated by the limitedjurisdiction courts. A felony is a criminal offense for which punishment may be death or imprisonment for more than a year. A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense punishable by imprisonment in local jails for up to a year. Since the U.S. District Court is the only trial court of broad jurisdiction in the federal system, it has original jurisdiction over all federal criminal matters.

See Also

Appellate Jurisdiction (Judicial Organization) General Jurisdiction Court (Judicial Organization); limitedjurisdiction court, 60.

Analysis and Relevance

Original jurisdiction establishes which court will first respond to a case or controversy. The trial courts possess original jurisdiction in the American system and preside over the resolution of all fact disputes. This may occur either by trial or settlement. Original jurisdiction is particularly important because comparatively few cases are appealed from courts of first instance. Appeals typically involve only questions of law as distinct from questions of fact. The latter are essentially the exclusive province of the trial court and are generally resolved with finality by the court of original jurisdiction.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Original Jurisdiction from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Original Jurisdiction Definition

See Jurisdiction.

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This definition of Original Jurisdiction Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

An initial authority on the part of a judicial tribunal to hear a particular cause of action in order to render a decision. Some courts have original jurisdiction, whereas others have appellate jurisdiction. See apellate court (in U.S. law) . Suits are commenced and tried first in courts of original jurisdiction, which are usually the lower courts. After a case has been decided in a court of original jurisdiction, it may be brought to a higher court having appellate jurisdiction for another decision. Appellate courts have original jurisdiction over some matters. See also jurisdiction (in U.S. law); courts of special jurisdiction (in U.S. law); american court system (in U.S. law); inferior (in U.S. law)

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Original Jurisdiction?

For a meaning of it, read Original Jurisdiction in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Original Jurisdiction.

Original Jurisdiction

United States Constitution

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, about its article titled ORIGINAL JURISDICTIONThe original jurisdiction of a court (as distinguished from appellate jurisdiction) is its power to hear and decide a case from the beginning. In the federal court system, the district courts originally hear the overwhelming majority of cases. Most discussion and litigation
(read more about Constitutional law entries here).

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Concept of Original Jurisdiction

In the U.S., in the context of Judiciary power and branch, Original Jurisdiction has the following meaning: A court’s jurisdiction is its authority to hear and decide cases. The original jurisdiction of a court encompasses cases that start (are first heard) in that court (usually in a trial) rather than some lower or other court. Trial courts determine the facts of the case and apply the law to those facts. (Source of this definition of Original Jurisdiction : University of Texas)

Original Jurisdiction

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See Also

  • Judiciary Power
  • Judiciary Branch

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