Limited Jurisdiction Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Limited Jurisdiction, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Limited Jurisdiction?

(n) Limited jurisdiction is the statutory limit of authority as regards to the quantum of dispute, type or magnitude of crime, parties involved in the dispute etc within which a court can accept a law suit to do a trial.

History and Definition of Limited Jurisdiction

Limited jurisdiction refers to the court's authority to adjudicate cases of particular types or over persons of a defined category. Generally, courts have jurisdiction limitations as outlined in constitutions, statutes, or judicial precedents. Thus, courts oversee disputes or other legal cases within only the confines of such statutes, and those that lay beyond the court's legal power are considered beyond limited jurisdiction. As a result, a court may decline to hear a case because it lacks jurisdiction to handle it.

This concept has its roots in early common law, whereby legal proceedings were enforced according to specific practices and procedures. This facilitated the association of legal authority with established procedures and regulates the exercise of this authority.

Examples of Limited Jurisdiction

  1. Small claims courts, which are empowered to deal with legal claims that do not exceed a specified financial limit, are a typical example of courts with limited jurisdiction.
  2. Limited jurisdiction can be found in courts whose jurisdiction's geographic scope is restricted to specific areas such as cities, counties or states.
  3. Some courts may decline to hear certain types of cases, such as family court or immigration law.

Legal Terms Similar to Limited Jurisdiction

  1. General Jurisdiction: A court's ability to handle the broad category of cases allowed by its jurisdiction
  2. Personal Jurisdiction: The court's power over a specific person or entity subject to a lawsuit
  3. Subject Matter Jurisdiction: The court's jurisdiction over a case depending on the nature of the claim.