Civil Procedure Venue Law and Legal Definition

Venue is the legally proper or most convenient place where a particular case should be filed or handled. Every state has rules determining the proper venue for different types of lawsuits. For civil cases, venue is usually the district or county which is the residence of a principal defendant or where they regularly conduct business, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident took place. However, the parties may agree to a different venue for convenience (such as where most witnesses are located). Normally, the venue in a criminal case is the judicial district or county where the crime was committed. Also, certain types of actions have specific venue rules that are applicable. The state, county or district in which a lawsuit is filed or a hearing or trial in that action is conducted is called the forum. The law of the jurisdiction should be consulted for specific requirements in a particular area.

For various reasons either party to a lawsuit or prosecution may move (ask) for a change of venue, which is up to the discretion of a judge in the court where the case or prosecution was originally filed. Reasons for such a request may include a clause in a contract stating that any action must be brought in a certain other venue, or pretrial publicity may be claimed to have tainted the potential jurors in that venue from rendering an impartial judgment. Other reasons, among others, may include lack of personal or subject matter jurisdiction, and "interests of justice". The interests of justice is subject to varied interpretations and may encompass many issues, such as efficient use of judicial resources and avoidance of unnecessary waste and expense, convenience to parties and witnesses, familiarity of the court with the state law to be applied, level of congestion of the respective courts, and avoidance of inconsistent adjudications.