original jurisdiction | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminology

Original jurisdiction refers to the authority of a court to hear and decide a case in the first instance rather than on appeal from a lower court.

This means that the court has the power to conduct a trial, consider evidence, and render a judgment or verdict based on the facts of the case and applicable law.

Original jurisdiction is typically granted to trial courts, which are responsible for hearing criminal cases and conducting trials. In the federal system, the U.S. District Courts have original jurisdiction over most federal criminal cases. In contrast, in state systems, original jurisdiction may be granted to various trial courts, such as circuit or superior courts.

In contrast to original jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction refers to the authority of a higher court to review the decision of a lower court on appeal. Appellate courts do not hold trials or consider new evidence but instead, review the legal arguments and procedures used in the lower court to determine whether errors were made that affected the outcome of the case.

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Last Modified: 03/10/2023


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