Subject-matter jurisdiction

This entry contains information applicable to United States law only. The power of a court to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong. For a court to have authority to adjudicate a dispute, it must have jurisdiction over the parties and over the type of legal issues in dispute. The first type of jurisdiction is called personal jurisdiction; the other is subject matter jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction will be found if the persons involved in the litigation are present in the state or are legal residents of the state in which the lawsuit has been filed, or if the transaction in question has a substantial connection to the state. Subject matter jurisdiction refers to the nature of the claim or controversy. The subject matter may be a criminal infringement, medical malpractice, or the probating of an estate. Subject matter jurisdiction is the power of a court to hear particular types of cases. In state court systems, statutes that create different courts generally set boundaries on their subject matter jurisdiction. One state court or another has subject matter jurisdiction of any controversy that can be heard in courts of that state. Some courts specialize in a particular area of the law, such as probate law, family law, or juvenile law. A person who seeks custody of a child, for example, must go to a court that has authority in guardianship matters. A divorce can be granted only in a court designated to hear matrimonial cases. A person charged with a felony cannot be tried in a criminal court authorized to hear only misdemeanor cases. In addition to the legal issue in dispute, the subject matter jurisdiction of a court may be determined by the monetary value of the dispute — the dollar amount in controversy. Small claims courts, also known as conciliation courts, are limited by state statutes to small amounts of money in controversy, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 depending upon the state. Therefore, if a plaintiff sues a defendant in small claims court for $50,000, the court will reject the lawsuit because it lacks subject matter jurisdiction based on the amount in controversy. The amount in controversy limitations are designed to regulate the flow of litigation in the various courts of the state, ensuring that complicated disputes over large sums of money will be heard in courts that have the time and resources to hear such cases. The U.S. Constitution gives jurisdiction over some types of cases to federal courts only. Cases involving ambassadors and consuls or public ministers, admiralty and maritime cases, and cases in which the United States is a party must be heard in federal courts. Congress has also created subject matter jurisdiction by statute, mandating that antitrust suits, most securities lawsuits, bankruptcy proceedings, and patent and copyright cases be heard in federal courts. The Constitution also allows federal district courts to hear cases involving any rights or obligations that arise from the Constitution or other federal law. This is called federal question jurisdiction. Federal courts also have diversity jurisdiction, which gives the courts authority to hear cases involving disputes among citizens of different states. If, however, the amount in controversy is less than $10,000, federal question and diversity jurisdiction will not apply, and the case must be brought in state court. Even if the $10,000 amount is satisfied, a plaintiff may start the lawsuit in state court. A defendant, however, may seek to have the case moved to the federal court in that state by filing a transfer request called a Subject-matter jurisdiction 1 of 3

removal action. A defendant who believes that a court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case may raise this issue before the trial court or in an appeal from the judgment. If a defect in subject matter jurisdiction is found, the judgment will usually be rendered void, having no legal force or binding effect.

Subject-matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, bankruptcy court has the authority to only hear bankruptcy cases. Subject-matter jurisdiction must be distinguished from personal jurisdiction, which is the power of a court to render a judgment United States Federal against a particular defendant, and territorial jurisdiction, which is civil procedure doctrines the power of the court to render a judgment concerning events that have occurred within a well-defined territory. Unlike Justiciability personal or territorial jurisdiction, lack of subject-matter Advisory opinions jurisdiction cannot be waived. A judgment from a court that did Standing · Ripeness · Mootness not have subject-matter jurisdiction is forever a nullity.[citation Political questions needed] Jurisdiction • Subject-matter jurisdiction: To decide a case, a court must have a combination of subject (subjectam) and either personal (personam) or territorial (locum) Federal question jurisdiction jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction Supplemental jurisdiction Subject-matter jurisdiction, personal or territorial jurisdiction, andRemoval jurisdiction adequate notice are the three most fundamental constitutional Amount in controversy requirements for a valid judgment. Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 • Personal jurisdiction:

State courts

Jurisdiction in rem Minimum contacts In the United States, many state court systems are divided into Federalism divisions such as criminal, civil law, family, and probate. A court Erie doctrine · Abstention within any one of those divisions would lack subject-matter Sovereign immunity · Abrogation jurisdiction to hear a case regarding matters assigned to another · Rooker-Feldman doctrine · division. Most U.S. state court systems, however, include a Adequate and superior court that has "general" jurisdiction; that is, it is independent state ground competent to hear any case over which no other tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction. Because the United States federal courts edit this template have exclusive jurisdiction over a very small percentage of cases (e.g., copyright and patent disputes), state courts have the authority to hear the vast majority of cases.

Subject-matter jurisdiction

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U.S. federal courts
Subject-matter jurisdiction is significantly more limited in United States federal courts. The maximal constitutional bounds of federal courts' subject-matter jurisdiction are defined by Article III Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts' actual subject-matter jurisdiction derives from Congressional enabling statutes, such as 28 U.S.C. §§ 1330-1369 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441-1452. The United States Congress has not extended federal courts' subject-matter jurisdiction to its constitutional limits. For example, the amount-in-controversy requirement for diversity jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1332, not a constitutional restriction. Moreover, Congress could constitutionally overrule the completediversity rule in diversity cases. By far the most important two categories of federal subject-matter jurisdiction in non-criminal cases are federal question jurisdiction and diversity jurisdiction. The enabling statute for federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, provides that the district courts have subject-matter jurisdiction in all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. As mentioned before, this jurisdiction is ordinarily not exclusive; states too can hear claims based on federal law. The enabling statute for diversity jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1332, grants the district courts jurisdiction in an action that meets two basic conditions: • Complete diversity requirement. No defendant is a citizen of the same state as any plaintiff. • Amount in controversy requirement. The matter in controversy exceeds $75,000. Federal courts also have removal jurisdiction, which is the authority to try cases removed by defendants from state courts. The contours of removal jurisdiction are almost identical to those of original jurisdiction. See removal jurisdiction for more information. According to Rule 12(h)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a federal court must dismiss a case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction upon motion of a party or sua sponte, upon its own initiative.[1] In federal criminal cases (offenses against the laws of the United States), the federal district courts of the United States have subject matter jurisdiction granted under 18 U.S.C. § 3231.

External links
• Subject Matter Jurisdiction at Source:

Subject-matter jurisdiction

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