By Schonauer Law on Jan 11, 2016 at 06:07 AM in What Does it Mean


Jurisdiction is the court's right, power, or authority to determining controversies and issue orders that parties to the controversy must comply.  In California, the superior courts are the lowest level of state courts in holding general jurisdiction on civil and criminal matters.  Jurisdiction is divided into to categories, personal jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction.

Personal Jurisdiction

Personal Jurisdiction is the authority of the court over the person, business or organization because the person, business or organization has contact where the court is located and exercises its authority.  A court will have jurisdiction over those persons who reside in the county where the court exercises authority or if the incident occurred in the court's jurisdictional territory.  However, the list does not end there.  A person who files a complaint with the court seeking relief or request and order consents to be bound by the judgment of the court (jurisdiction).  Consent also extends to a party who responds to a complainant (petitioner or plaintiff) request for order or relief without challenging the court's personal jurisdiction.


Due process requires that notice be given to any person affected by the court’s exercise of jurisdiction in manner "reasonably calculated" to inform the party of the action affecting her or him.  This is referred to as service of process.  Until a party is provided proper notice regarding the controversy involving him or her, the court does not have personal jurisdiction over the person, business, or organization.  A person, business or organization that has had no contact with California, may not be sued in a California court.

Subject Matter Jurisdiction (coming soon)