Jurisdiction Ratione Materiae Law and Legal Definition

Jurisdiction Ratione Materiae, otherwise known as subject-matter jurisdiction refers to the court's authority to decide a particular case. It is the jurisdiction over the nature of the case and the type of relief sought; the extent to which a court can rule on the conduct of persons or the status of things. For example, Congress limited the subject-matter jurisdiction of the United States Tax Court to cases related to taxation; thus, that court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction over any other matter. The reasoning behind subject-matter jurisdiction is that the court with the greatest interest in deciding the dispute should be the court that has the opportunity to make a ruling on it.