What Are the Different Types of Jurisdiction?

In a judicial system, jurisdiction is broadly classified into three categories: personal jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction denotes the authority over an individual; territorial jurisdiction refers to the authority over a limited region; and subject matter jurisdiction is the authority over the issue at hand. In the United States, personal and subject matter jurisdictions are the main types of judicial authority.

In law, jurisdiction is the power granted to a formal judicial body to resolve lawsuits and issue pronouncements to legally carry out its verdicts. Jurisdiction also refers to the established boundary wherein the proper exercise of lawful authority is confined.

Personal jurisdiction, or “in personam” in legal jargon, can be enforced by a court over the litigants or defendants involved in a civil or criminal proceeding, notwithstanding their location. Territorial jurisdiction is a court’s power to render a decision regarding certain incidents that transpired within a bounded geographical area, encompassing all those who were present at that time and place. Subject matter jurisdiction, or “in rem” jurisdiction, requires that all the details, concerning the subject matter of the lawsuit, be made available so the court can render an appropriate resolution. In the federal judicial system in the U.S., the subject matter jurisdiction is further divided into a “federal question jurisdiction,” “supplemental jurisdiction” and “diversity jurisdiction.”