Original Jurisdiction Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Original Jurisdiction?

the authority of a court to try a case in the first instance and give judgement accoding to the facts and evidences as distinguished from appelate jurisdiction which has already been tried but an appeal is made for review.

History and Meaning of Original Jurisdiction

Original jurisdiction refers to the legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case in the first instance, rather than on appeal. This term is an essential principle of the judicial system as it allows courts to review and decide cases based on the evidence presented in court. Original jurisdiction is often contrasted with appellate jurisdiction, which is the authority of a court to review and modify decisions made by lower courts.

The concept of original jurisdiction is embedded in the U.S. Constitution, which grants original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in cases involving disputes between two or more states, or cases in which a state is a party. Other courts, such as the U.S. district courts, have limited original jurisdiction over cases involving federal law or interstate disputes.

Examples of Original Jurisdiction

  1. In the landmark case Marbury v. Madison, the U.S. Supreme Court exercised its original jurisdiction to hear a petition for a writ of mandamus against the Secretary of State, who failed to deliver appointments made by outgoing President John Adams before the inauguration of incoming President Thomas Jefferson.
  2. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has original jurisdiction over a class-action lawsuit filed against a bank accused of fraudulent lending practices under federal law.
  3. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit exercised its original jurisdiction over a dispute between two state governments over the drawing of congressional district lines.

Legal Terms Similar to Original Jurisdiction

  1. Appellate jurisdiction: The authority of a higher court to review and modify decisions made by a lower court.
  2. Concurrent jurisdiction: The authority of two or more courts to hear and decide a case simultaneously.
  3. Exclusive jurisdiction: The sole authority of a particular court or government body to hear and decide a case.