One of the most fundamental questions of law is whether a particular court has jurisdiction to preside over a particular case. The term jurisdiction is best understood when compared to the term "power". Any court has jurisdiction over matters only to the extent that it is granted by the Constitution and/or the law of sovereignty on behalf of which it functions.
Hague Apostille, legal fact
What is jurisdiction?
Jurisdiction is the power or authority that comes from the power given by the State, to resolve conflicts that may have a citizen using the laws as a means of pressure to ensure that what has been dictated by a judge is complied with.
Jurisdiction consists of the power held by the State as a whole to resolve particular conflicts through the imposition of Law and the Right. This power is given to a state body, which in this case is the judiciary. In other words, it is the power of the State to administer justice through the organs of the Judicial Branch depending on what is stipulated in the Constitution of a given country.
The word derives from the Latin “jus” which means right, “dicere” which has as meaning to declare and “lurisdictio” which means to dictate right. The word is a feminine noun that refers to authority, power or suitability that someone has to govern, command or lead.
Types of jurisdiction
There are several types of jurisdiction as follows:
- Civil jurisdiction: is the set of jurisdictional bodies that includes organizations such as courts and tribunals to which all types of civil action should be directed. It organizes, debates and decides the strategies to be followed to improve the administration of civil justice from an administrative and legal point of view.
- Territorial Jurisdiction: it is the one that is related to the territory over which a given court has or can exercise its authority.
- Labor Jurisdiction: is the attribution that the State has to be able, through specialized labor bodies, to validly and definitively resolve the different interests conflicts that may arise regarding individual and collective labor relations, and where judicial control of public administration decisions is required for labor and social security reasons in order to grant socioeconomic stability to the State and to be able to promote social peace and justice within society.
- Federal Jurisdiction: the power granted by the nation’s judiciary or, in other words, by the federal state to administer justice over people and in places determined by the constitution.
- Indigenous Jurisdiction: This type refers to the power that indigenous peoples have to resort to their internal authorities to solve problems generated within their territories, and it is also the one that gives the power to make decisions, judge and execute facts with respect to their traditional norms.
- Social Jurisdiction: the set of bodies established by the State for the knowledge and resolution of work-related conflicts. It gives a guarantee to the rights of the worker, using its own and different principles from the civil process, to compensate for the substantial social and economic inequality of the worker before the employer.
- Voluntary Jurisdiction: it is the one in which there is no litigation between the parties through which the particular cases are passed to the notaries, and they are given the faculty to attend some of these procedures to decongest the judicial offices.
- Own Jurisdiction: this is the type of jurisdiction in which problems are resolved and the powers granted by law are processed, without the need for another jurisdictional body to grant the materially jurisdictional function.
- Ordinary jurisdiction: it is a group of Courts that have the knowledge and resolution of the processes in general and that has a structure based on criteria of functional hierarchy and division of work.
- Municipal Jurisdiction: its objective is to give municipalities an administrative and fiscal statute in order to fulfill their functions and provide the services they are responsible for, promote the development of their territories and improve the social aspect of their inhabitants.
- Privative jurisdiction: it is exercised only in a case by a judge or by a court that deprives others to intervene in their knowledge or decision.
The different elements found within the scope of jurisdiction are the following:
- Notion: is the power to apply the law to a specific case.
- Vocation: it is the aptitude of being able to know the pretension that has a certain procedural subject.
- Coertio: it is the power to protect those interests that are submitted to the decision that one has.
- Luditio: is the power to quote a sentence depending on the application of the law to a specific case. It can be said that this is the fundamental and principal element of jurisdiction.
- Executio: it is the power that a jurisdictional organ has to be able to execute what has been judged.
The limits of jurisdiction are as follows:
- Limits of time: the limit of the jurisdiction is the time that has been indicated by the Constitution or by the laws for the exercise of the judge’s office.
- Limits of space: are usually classified in:
- External limits: it encloses all the elements that allow to delimit the zone of validity and the application in the space. As a general rule, the limit of jurisdiction is the sovereignty of the States.
- Internal limits: are those limits that look at the same jurisdiction, discarding that which belongs to other States, as well as the functions attributed to the other organs of the State itself.
Within the limits of jurisdiction, it is also possible to mention as a limit the Respect of Rights, which are justified by the fact that one’s own jurisdiction cannot pass over the rights that are recognized to man by his quality as such.
Conflicts of jurisdiction
The conflict of jurisdiction is the one that arises when two or more judges or courts, depending on the case, have the same jurisdiction to take charge of a certain matter, so the conflict must be resolved before proceeding with the resolution of the litigation. These types of conflicts may be of a national nature affecting the legal order of a single state, or of an international nature affecting two or more legal systems.
How it differs from competition?
The difference is that competence is the power of a judge or court to exercise jurisdiction in a given matter, it is the measure that has the jurisdiction that has been assigned. Jurisdiction is proper to all courts and jurisdiction is a specific power for certain cases.
Some examples of jurisdiction are as follows:
- Drug trafficking.
- Genocide or extermination.
- Cases of torture.
Written by Gabriela Briceño V.