Federal Question Jurisdiction Law and Legal Definition

Federal Question jurisdiction refers to the exercise of federal-court power over claims arising under the U.S. Constitution, an act of Congress, or a treaty. Article III of the United States Constitution permits federal courts to hear such cases, so long as the United States Congress passes a statute to that effect. The power is granted by 28 USCS § 1331 which reads "The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."

Federal question jurisdiction is not dependent upon the amount in controversy. Therefore the court can hear a federal question case even if no money is sought by the plaintiff.