The Legal Information Institute at Cornell University defines original jurisdiction as the power of a court to hear the case that has been bought before it. When a court has original jurisdiction, it has the authority to hold a trial and determine the facts of the case.
According to the Legal Information Institute, trial courts must have original jurisdiction over cases that are heard, or the case must be dismissed. In certain very narrowly defined circumstances, the U.S. Supreme Court (and only the U.S. Supreme Court) has original jurisdiction. The Court hears one or two of these cases per year. These are cases that typically involve disputes between states, most often over property rights.