Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Subject matter jurisdiction is where a court gets its authority to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For instance, a bankruptcy court has the authority to hear only bankruptcy cases.
Subject-matter, personal, and territorial jurisdiction are different things. Personal jurisdiction allows a court to issue a judgment against a particular defendant. Territorial jurisdiction allows a court to render a judgment concerning the events that have occurred within a well-defined territory. While personal and territorial jurisdiction can be waived, a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be worked around. A judgment from a court that did not have jurisdiction is forever null.
In order for a court to decide a case, it must have a combination of subject matter and either personal or territorial jurisdiction. Subject-matter jurisdiction, personal or territorial jurisdiction, and adequate notice are the most fundamental constitutional requirements for a valid judgment.
State courts have their jurisdiction divided into divisions like criminal, civil, family, and probate. A court within any of those divisions does not have the subject-matter jurisdiction to address matters that are part of another division. The majority of state court systems have a superior court that has “general” jurisdiction. This means the court can hear any case over which there is another court that has exclusive jurisdiction.
Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over a very small percentage of cases and are authorized by Congress to hear cases arising under a very small area. State courts have the authority to hear the vast majority of cases.
Contact a Wausau Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been hurt by another’s actions and would like to learn more about your legal options, contact the Wausau personal injury lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 1-800-248-0171 today.