Courts and Jurisdiction


The U.S. Constitution created a “federal system” that shares authority between a national government and the states.  As a result, we have two major court systems:  the federal courts and the state courts, each with jurisdiction to hear different types of cases.  In this module, you’ll learn about the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal and state courts, how a court obtains personal jurisdiction over the parties to the lawsuit, and the difference between exclusive and concurrent jurisdiction.  In addition, you’ll explore the concepts of standing and venue to better understand how they can operate to limit who can bring a lawsuit and which court is the most appropriate to actually hear a particular case.  To reduce the uncertainty of where a dispute can be heard and which law may apply, the parties can include “forum-selection” and “choice of law” clauses into their contractual agreements.