Difference Between Original Jurisdiction and Appellate Jurisdiction

Original Jurisdiction vs Appellate Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is a word mostly heard in the world of jurisprudence or the legal system and refers to the authority of a court to hear cases on a particular subject and give judgments. Basically jurisdiction of the courts in the country is divided into two categories namely original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. Those who are not used to legal phrases find hard to appreciate the differences between original and appellate jurisdiction.

Original Jurisdiction

The supreme court in the country has the power to hear cases that come to it fresh, and the judgment of the court in these matters is final and beyond appeal which means that the parties, whether they are satisfied or not with the verdict of the supreme court, have no further appealing chance. Very few cases come to the Supreme Court under original jurisdiction, but this jurisdiction forms an important part of the authority of the Supreme Court to decide hearing and give judgment in cases where it is mainly a question of interpretation of the constitution.

Cases between states and cases between the federal government and the states are often heard under original jurisdiction by the Supreme Court. All courts having original jurisdiction in US are referred to as trial courts.

Appellate Jurisdiction

Supreme Court also has the power to review the decisions of lower courts such as lower federal courts and state courts and even overturn the decision. This power of the Supreme Court is labeled as appellate jurisdiction. It is the cases under the appellate jurisdiction that form the bulk of the cases taken up by the court for hearing and giving its verdict. With nearly every decision by the high courts in states being challenged by aggrieved parties in the Supreme Court, there is this issue of wastage of invaluable time of the Supreme Court. This is why the Supreme Court has the power to decide whether the case merits hearing.

What is the difference between Original Jurisdiction and Appellate Jurisdiction?

  • The authority of a court to decide a case based upon trial and evidence rather than on the basis of appeal is called original jurisdiction.
  • While even lower courts have original jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases of interpretation of the constitution, and where the dispute is between states and between the deferral government and a state.
  • Appellate jurisdiction refers to the authority of a court to hear a case upon appeal from a lower court.
  • Bulk of the cases heard by the Supreme Court pertains to those falling under the appellate jurisdiction.