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Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Definition - What does Subject Matter Jurisdiction mean?

Subject matter jurisdiction is what permits a court to hear and render decisions in certain types of cases. One factor used to determine which court has subject matter is the amount of money being sought in a civil suit. The type of issue being contested will also determine which court can hear the case.

Justipedia explains Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Subject matter jurisdiction is applicable in criminal and civil cases, and in state and federal courts. Some state courts, for example, can only hear misdemeanor cases; some can only render decisions in cases pertaining to family law; and some can only hear and render decisions in juvenile cases.

Federal courts derive their subject matter jurisdiction through constitutional provisions and statutory authority. The former gives the federal courts the power to adjudicate specific matters including but not limited to those directly involving the United States. The latter authorizes federal courts to hear bankruptcy and intellectual property cases, among others.

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