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The original jurisdiction of a court is the right to hear a case for the first time as opposed to appellate jurisdiction when a court has the right to review a lower court's decision. In the United States these courts are also referred to as trial courts.


The lowest civil court of France, the tribunal de première instance ("Court of Common Pleas"), has original jurisdiction over most civil matters except areas of specialist exclusive jurisdiction, those being mainly land estates, business and consumer matters, social security, and labor. All criminal matters may pass summarily through the lowest criminal court, the tribunal de police, but each court has both original and limited jurisdiction over certain separate levels of offences:
  • juge de proximité ("Magistrate Court") - petty misdemeanors and violations;
  • tribunal de police ("Police Court") - gross misdemeanors or summary offences (summary jurisdiction);
  • tribunal correctionnel ("Criminal Court") - felonies or indictable offences generally;
  • cour d'assises ("Court of Sessions") - capital and first-degree felonies or major indictable offences, high crimes, crimes against the State.

For the administrative stream, any administrative court has original jurisdiction. However, while the Council of State has supreme appellate jurisdiction for administrative appeals, it also has original jurisdiction on a number of matters brought against national governmental authorities including cases against statutory instruments (executive and ministerial orders) and certain types of administrative decisions.


The 'Indian High Court Act' of 1861 vested in Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdommarker to issue letters patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom to erect and establish High Courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay. The Indian High Courts Act, 1861 did not by itself create and establish the High Courts in India.

The following three High courts viz. Calcutta, Bombay and Madras are erstwhile Presidency Court [in common and popular parlance Chartered High Courts] have unlimited original jurisdiction under the Letters Patent for the conferment of the ORDINARY ORIGINAL Civil Jurisdiction in terms of Articles 225 of the Constitution.

  1. The Calcutta High Court has the distinction of being the first High Court and one of the three Chartered High Courts to be set up in India, along with the High Courts of Bombay, Madras. [45974]
  2. The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on 14 August 1862. The High Court had an original as well as appellate jurisdiction.[45975]
  3. The High Court of Judicature at Madrasmarker [located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu, originally known as Madras] - is one of the three high courts in India established at the Presidency Towns by Letters Patent granted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, bearing date 26 June 1862, is the Highest Court in the State of Tamil Nadu, exercising Original Jurisdiction over the City of Madras [Chennai] and Appellate Jurisdiction over the entire state as well as extraordinary Original Jurisdiction, Civil and Criminal, under the Letters Patent and special jurisdiction for the issue of writs under the Constitution of India.[45976]

United States

Courts that would have original jurisdiction in a case include county and circuit courts, federal district courts, and special courts and tribunals such as traffic court, family court, United States Bankruptcy Court, United States Tax Court, and quasi-judicial bodies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission.

There are three types of courts of original jurisdiction: courts not of record, such as justice of the peace courts, and courts of general jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. Courts not of record keep no permanent records of proceeding, making appeals almost impossible. Courts of general jurisdiction are also known as trial courts.

The Supreme Court of the United Statesmarker generally has appellate jurisdiction over its cases; i.e., cases are appealed through the judicial system until they reach the Court, most commonly through writs of certiorari. However, in a limited class of cases, the Court has original jurisdiction to consider the facts and the law of a case without it having first been passed on by a lower court. Currently, the only original jurisdiction cases commonly handled by the Supreme Court are disputes between two or more U.S. states, typically regarding boundary lines, water claims, or other property issues. Federal courts are granted original jurisdiction in cases involving interpretations of United States laws, maritime law, cases involving citizens of different states, cases between ambassadors and representatives of foreign nations, cases between state governments, and cases in which the United States is a party.

See also


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