1. Law The legal power, right, or authority of a particular court to hear and determine causes, to try criminals, or to execute justice; judicial authority over a cause or class of causes; as, certain suits or actions, or the cognizance of certain crimes, are within the jurisdiction of a particular court, that is, within the limits of its authority or commission.
2. The authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate; the right of making or enforcing laws; the power or right of exercising authority.
To live exempt
From Heaven's high jurisdiction. --Milton.
You wrought to be a legate; by which power
You maim'd the jurisdiction of all bishops. --Shak.
3. Sphere of authority; the limits within which any particular power may be exercised, or within which a government or a court has authority.
Note: ☞ Jurisdiction, in its most general sense, is the power to make, declare, or apply the law. When confined to the judiciary department, it is what we denominate the judicial power, the right of administering justice through the laws, by the means which the laws have provided for that purpose. Jurisdiction is limited to place or territory, to persons, or to particular subjects.
n 1: (law) the right and power to interpret and apply the law;
"courts having jurisdiction in this district" [syn: legal
2: in law; the territory within which power can be exercised