Difference Between Venue and Jurisdiction

Venue vs Jurisdiction

The difference between venue and jurisdiction takes importance when they are both used in the legal context. This is because both venue and jurisdiction speak superficially of a place. That is, the two terms confuse people when jurisdiction is used in the sense of proper court, which has the authority to hear a particular case and when venue refers to the court in which the case is to be held. Jurisdiction, in general, refers to the authority or control a particular body has over something or to the extent to which the body can exercise its authority or control over something. This article gives a clear description of the two terms, venue and jurisdiction, and the difference between both.

What does Jurisdiction mean?

The word jurisdiction is derived from the Latin ‘juris’ meaning ‘oath’ and ‘dicere’ meaning ‘to speak’. It is the authority granted to constituted legal body or a political leader to deal with legal matters and also to direct justice within the area of responsibility. Jurisdiction is also used to denote the geographical area in which the authority granted to a constituted legal body or a political leader to deal with legal matters and to direct justice. In this sense, it is clear that jurisdiction is the region in which the authority can be exercised as well as the authority granted. That is why some police officers say they do not have the jurisdiction in an area. That means they do not have the authority to take action in an area, if it is outside the region where their power is.

There are three concepts of jurisdiction, namely, personal jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction and subject matter jurisdiction. The authority over a person is called personal jurisdiction. The location of the person is not important when it comes to personal jurisdiction. The authority confined to a bounded place is called territorial jurisdiction. The authority over the subject of the questions pertaining to law is called subject matter jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction also can be used to define a court’s authority. A court may be designated or empowered to hear only certain cases. So, it may not be the proper court to hear the cases or conduct trials outside its jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, courts may have jurisdiction that is exclusive or shared too. The court alone becomes authorized to address on legal matters if it is characterized by exclusive jurisdiction over a specified area or territory. On the other hand, more than one court can address the matter if a court has shared jurisdiction. Waiving, which is done with regard to venue, is not possible in the case of jurisdiction since jurisdiction is all about authority.

What does Venue mean?

Venue, on the other hand, is the location where a case is heard. It is interesting to note that the venue is either a county or a district in the United States. Venue deals with locality of a lawsuit. In short, it can be said that the venue decides the place a lawsuit may be filed.

It is quite important to know that defendants can waive venue at the time of trial. Plaintiffs can waive venue at the time of the trial. Change of venue is done in both civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, a change of venue can be done if neither party lives or does business in the jurisdiction where the case is heard. In criminal cases, venue change is asked mainly because the witnesses want a jury that is not acquainted with them and is not exposed to the case before through media and such.

Difference Between Venue and Jurisdiction

What is the difference between Venue and Jurisdiction?

• Jurisdiction is the territory within which the authority is granted to deal with legal matters and to direct justice.

• Jurisdiction also refers to the power to make legal decisions and judgments.

• Venue, on the other hand, is the location where a lawsuit may be filed; case is heard.

• There are three types of jurisdiction as personal, territorial and subject matter. In the case of personal jurisdiction, venue is not important.


Images Courtesy: 

  1. High Court of Singapore by Anant Shiva (CC BY-SA 2.0)