Jurisdiction over the Action Law and Legal Definition

Jurisdiction over the action, otherwise known as subject-matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases of a particular type or cases relating to a specific subject matter. For example, probate court has the authority to hear probate cases only. In the U.S., most of the state court systems are divided into divisions such as criminal, civil law, family, and probate. A court within any one of those divisions lacks subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a case regarding matters assigned to another division. The U.S. Constitution gives jurisdiction over some types of cases to federal courts only. Cases involving ambassadors and consuls or public ministers, admiralty and maritime cases, and cases in which the United States is a party must be heard in federal courts. The subject matter jurisdiction of a court may be determined by the monetary value of the dispute also.