One of the most fundamental questions in the law is whether a particular court has jurisdiction to preside over a particular case . The term jurisdiction can be better understood when compared to the term “power of attorney” . Any court has jurisdiction over matters only to the extent that granted the Constitution and / or legislation of sovereignty on behalf of which works.

What is jurisdiction?

Jurisdiction is the power or authority that comes from the power given by the State, to be able to resolve conflicts that a citizen may have using the laws as a means of pressure so that what has been dictated by a judge is complied with.

  • What does it consist of
  • Etymology
  • Jurisdiction types
  • Elements
  • Limits
  • Jurisdiction conflicts
  • How it differs from the competition
  • Examples

What does it consist of

Jurisdiction consists of the power possessed by the State as a whole to be able to solve particular conflicts through the imposition of Law and Law . This power is given to a state body , which in this case is the judicial one . In other words, it is the power that the State possesses to be able to administer justice through the organs of the Judicial Power depending on what is stipulated in the Constitution of a certain country.



The word derives from the Latin ” jus ” which means law, ” dicere ” which means to declare and ” lurisdictio ” which means to dictate law. The word is a feminine noun that refers to the authority, power or suitability that someone has to govern, command or lead.

Jurisdiction types

There are several types of jurisdiction that are the following:

  • Civil jurisdiction: it  is the set of jurisdictional bodies that includes organizations such as courts and tribunals to which all types of civil action must be directed  organizes, debates and decides on the strategies to be followed to improve the administration of civil justice from an administrative and legal point of view.
  • Territorial jurisdiction : it is the one that is related to the territory over which a certain court has or can exercise its authority .
  • Labor courts:  is the attribution to the State to be able, through bodies specialized labor, resolve validly and defining the various conflicts of interest that may arise as to the individual relationships and collective work, and where requires judicial control of the decisions of the public administration for labor and social security reasons to grant socioeconomic stability to the State and to be able to promote social peace and justice within society.
  • Federal jurisdiction : it is the power that is granted by the judicial power of the nation or in other words by the federal state to administer justice over the people and in the places determined by the constitution.
  • Indigenous jurisdiction : this type refers to the power that indigenous peoples have to be able to resort to their internal authorities to solve the problems generated within their territories, and it is also the one that gives the power to make decisions , judge and execute facts with respect to their traditional norms.
  • Social jurisdiction:  is the set of bodies established by the State for the knowledge and resolution of conflicts related to work. It gives a guarantee to the rights of the worker, using its own principles and different from the civil process , to compensate the substantial social and economic inequality of the worker before the employer.
  • Voluntary jurisdiction:  is one in which there is no dispute between the parties that the particular cases passed to notaries and given the power to address some of these steps to decongest the offices judicial.
  • Own jurisdiction: it  is the type of jurisdiction where problems are resolved and the attributions granted by law are processed , without the need for another jurisdictional body that grants the materially jurisdictional function.
  • Ordinary jurisdiction: it  is a group of Courts that have the knowledge and resolution of the generality of the processes and that has a structure that is based on criteria of functional hierarchy and division of labor .
  • Municipal jurisdiction:  its objective is to give the municipalities an administrative and fiscal statute to fulfill the functions and provide the services in their charge, promote the development of their territories and improve the social aspect of their inhabitants.
  • Exclusive jurisdiction : it is exercised only in a case by a judge or by a court that deprives others to intervene in their knowledge or decision .


The different elements that are in the scope of the jurisdiction are the following:

  • Notion : is the power to apply the law to a specific case.
  • Vocatio : it is the ability to know the claim that a certain procedural subject has .
  • Coertion : it is the power to safeguard those interests that are subject to the decision that is made.
  • Iuditio : is the power to cite a sentence depending on the application of the law to a specific case. It can be said that this is the fundamental and main element that the jurisdiction has.
  • Executio : is the power that a court has to be able to execute what has been judged.


The limits of jurisdiction are as follows:

  • Time limits : the limit of jurisdiction is the time that has been established by the Constitution or by law for the performance of the office of judge .
  • Space limits : they are generally classified as:
    • External limits: it encloses all the elements that allow to delimit the area of validity and the application in the space . As a general rule , the limit of jurisdiction is the sovereignty of the States.
    • Internal limits: are those limits that look to the same jurisdiction , disregarding the one that belongs to other States , as well as the functions attributed to the other organs of the State itself.

Within the limits of the jurisdiction, Respect for Rights can also be mentioned as a limit , which are justified by the fact that the jurisdiction itself cannot pass over the rights that are recognized to man by his quality as such.

Jurisdiction conflicts

The conflict of jurisdiction is the one that occurs when two or more judges or courts, depending on the case, have the same jurisdiction to take charge of a specific matter , so the conflict must be resolved before proceeding with the resolution of the dispute. These types of conflicts can be of a national nature that affects the legal order of a single state, or international that affects two or more legal systems.

How it differs from the competition

The difference is that jurisdiction is the power that a judge or court has to exercise jurisdiction in a certain matter , it is the extent of the jurisdiction that has been assigned. The jurisdiction is proper to all courts and competition is a power specific to certain cases.


Some examples of jurisdiction are as follows:

  • Drug traffic.
  • Terrorism.
  • Genocide or extermination.
  • Corruption.
  • Torture cases.

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