Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Personal Jurisdiction Definition:

The court's authority to determine a claim affecting a specific person.

Related Terms: Jurisdiction

In Everdry, Justice Crone of the Court of Appeals of Indiana noted that:

"[P]ersonal jurisdiction is a court's power to bring a person into its adjudicative process and enforce a judgment against him."

Similarly, in Miller v Goodell, the District Court of Appeal of Florida published these words:

"Personal jurisdiction refers to whether a particular court has legal authority over the respondent or defendant. Personal jurisdiction is a personal right, and a respondent may consent to personal jurisdiction."

Consider, also, these words of Justice Noble within Nordike v Nordike:

"There are actually three separate types of jurisdiction, all of which must be met before a court may hear a case.

"First, there is personal jurisdiction, or the court's authority to determine a claim affecting a specific person. When the question is whether the court has the power to compel a person to appear before it and abide by its rulings, this is a question of personal jurisdiction. Given the mobile world we live in, personal jurisdiction often is difficult to obtain, which has led each state to the development of long-arm statutes that extend personal jurisdiction to nonresidents....

"Often, discussions of jurisdiction concern subject-matter jurisdiction, or the court's power to hear and rule on a particular type of controversy. Subject matter jurisdiction is not for a court to take, assume, or allow. Subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be born of waiver, consent or estoppel, but it is absent only where the court has not been given any power to do anything at all in such a case. A court either has it or it doesn't, though admittedly there are times when more than one court may have subject matter jurisdiction or it is difficult to determine which court does.

"Finally there is jurisdiction over the particular case at issue, which refers to the authority and power of the court to decide a specific case, rather than the class of cases over which the court has subject matter jurisdiction. This kind of jurisdiction often turns solely on proof of certain compliance with statutory requirements and so-called jurisdictional facts, such as that an action was begun before a limitations period expired."


  • Everdry Marketing and Management Inc. v. Carter, 885 NE 2d 6 (2008)
  • Miller v. Goodell, 958 So. 2d 952 (2007)
  • Nordike v. Nordike, 231 SW 3d 733 (2007)

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