Original Jurisdiction and Subject matter Jurisdiction

Original Jurisdiction and Subject matter Jurisdiction

What is Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is the legal power that a court has to entertain the disputes between two parties. It is the right that the court has to determine the difference between the parties. It is one thing for a party to institute an action in the court and it is another thing for the court to have the right to decide the matters between the parties. The right can be territorial, subject matter, appellant, original and geographical.

The issue of jurisdiction is meant to be addressed in both criminal and civil cases and without jurisdiction, the court will not be legal qualified to entertain a matter. The court is expected to be fully constituted and to decide the matter within the confine of jurisdictions conferred on them by the Law.

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However, it is germane to state that for the verdict of the court to be valid and binding on the parties, the court before which the matter was entertained must have decided the matter in accordance to the jurisdictional power conferred on them by the law. Jurisdiction can be likened to the threshold upon which matters are decided.

Original Jurisdiction

Original jurisdiction is the legal power that a court has to decide a matter as a court of first instance. This is the right usually exercised in the trial court and other lower court. However, the whole courts have some matters that they can determine as court of first instance. The original jurisdiction permits the court the right to hear the matter first and to obtain the evidence directly from the witness.

The Law usually confer courts with some original jurisdiction and without them attending to the matter, other courts will not be permitted to entertain or determine the matter.  The court with original jurisdiction in a matter is expected to decide a matter first before the matter may be filed to an appeal court.

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In the trial court for instance, it has been held in plethora of cases that they are the court with the highest chance of hearing from the witness directly and also evaluating their demeanour in the court. They usually know better than the appellant court. Ordinarily it is usually hard for the appellant court to overturn the judgment of the trial court on the ground of evidence tendered instead on law.

Coordinate Jurisdiction

It is called coordinate jurisdiction or concurrent jurisdiction. This is the legal rights exercised by some courts to entertain matter equally. The courts that fall under this bracket does not make judgment for the each other. Their decisions can only be persuasive to the court with coordinate jurisdiction but it cannot be binding. This can be seen to exist between Federal High Court and state High Court.

The courts with coordinate jurisdiction can always decide cases considering the decisions already reach by the other courts but their decisions are not binding.

Subject matter Jurisdiction

Subject matter jurisdiction is the legal right that a court has to decide a matter based on the subject matter in issue. The parties in dispute decide on the court to approach based on the subject matter in issue. It is always important to note that if a matter on a particular subject matter is decided outside the court that has the right to hear the matter. The decision of the court shall be tantamount to be quashed out.

The subject matter jurisdiction confers a particular court with the legal right to decide a matter that resides on a particular subject matter.

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