JURISDICTION, Practice. A power constitutionally conferred upon a judge or magistrate, to take cognizance of, and decide causes according to law, and to carry his sentence into execution. 6 Pet. 591; 9 John. 239. The tract of land or district within which a judge or magistrate has jurisdiction, is called his territory, and his power in relation to his territory is called his territorial jurisdiction.
2. Every act of jurisdiction exercised by a judge without his territory, either by pronouncing sentence or carrying it into execution, is null. An inferior court has no jurisdiction beyond what is expressly delegated. 1 Salk. 404, n.; Gilb. C. P. 188; 1 Saund. 73; 2 Lord Raym. 1311; and see Bac. Ab. Courts, &c., C, et seq; Bac. Ab. Pleas, E 2.
3. Jurisdiction is original, when it is conferred on the court in the first instance, which is called original jurisdiction; (q. v.) or it is appellate, which is when an appeal is given from the judgment of another court. Jurisdiction is also civil, where the subject-matter to be tried is not of a criminal nature; or criminal, where the court is to punish crimes. Some courts and magistrates have both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is also concurrent, exclusive, or assistant. Concurrent jurisdiction is that which may be entertained by several courts. It is a rule that in cases of concurrent jurisdictions, that which is first seized of the case shall try it to the exclusion of the other. Exclusive jurisdiction is that which has alone the power to try or determine the Suit, action, or matter in dispute. assistant jurisdiction is that which is afforded by a court of chancery, in aid of a court of law; as, for example, by a bill of discovery, by the examination of witnesses de bene esse, or out of the jurisdiction of the court; by the perpetuation of the testimony of witnesses, and the like.
4. It is the law which gives jurisdiction; the consent of, parties, cannot, therefore, confer it, in a matter which the law excludes. 1 N. & M. 192; 3 M'Cord, 280; 1 Call. 55; 1 J. S. Marsh. 476; 1 Bibb, 263; Cooke, 27; Minor, 65; 3 Litt. 332; 6 Litt. 303; Kirby, 111; 1 Breese, 32; 2 Yerg. 441; 1 Const. R. 478. But where the court has jurisdiction of the matter, and the defendant has some privilege which exempts him from the jurisdiction, he may wave the privilege. 5 Cranch, 288; 1 Pet. 449; 8 Wheat. 699; 4 W. C. C. R. 84; 4 M'Cord, 79; 4 Mass. 593; Wright, 484. See Hardin, 448; 2 Wash. 213.
5. Courts of inferior jurisdiction must act within their jurisdiction, and so it must appear upon the record. 5 Cranch, 172 Pet. C. C. R. 36; 4 Dall. 11; 2 Mass. 213; 4 Mass. 122; 8 Mass. 86; 11 Mass. 513; Pr. Dec. 380; 2 Verm. 329; 3 Verm. 114; 10 Conn. 514; 4 John. 292; 3 Yerg. 355; Walker, 75; 9 Cowen, 227; 5 Har. & John. 36; 1 Bailey, 459; 2 Bailey, 267. But the legislature may, by a general or special law, provide otherwise. Pet. C. C. R. 36. Vide 1 Salk. 414; Bac. Ab. Courts, &c., C. D; Id. Prerogative, E 6; Merlin, Rep. h. t.; Ayl. Pat. 317, and the art. Competency. As to the force of municipal law beyond the territorial jurisdiction of the state, see Wheat. Intern. Law, part a, c. 2, §7, et seq.; Story, Confl. of Laws, c. 2; Huberus, lib. 1, t. 3; 13 Mass. R. 4 Pard. Dr. Com. part. 6, t. 7, c. 2, §1; and the articles Conflict of Laws; Courts of the United States. See generally, Bouv. Inst. Index, h. t.