All News & Insights

What is Jurisdictional Language?

Corporate & Business Law

5 minute read

Welcome to CL basic law today we're gonna talk about jurisdictional language in a contract. First, what do I mean by JL? It’s usually one of the clauses at the end of a contract you all skin over say ahh that’s just boilerplate. It’s the language that says if a dispute arises what state or county or both a lawsuit should be brought in and what laws should apply. First q is it important/necessary? The answer to both is yes it’s important/necessary. Not necessary to make an enforceable contract but necessary in case something bad happens meaning if a dispute arises as to the contract or under the contract then the issue is where is the lawsuit brought and if your say from georgia and you enter a contract w someone in kansas and you put as JL that any dispute arising under this contract is to be brought in the state of kansas that means that you are gonna have to go from GA to kansas to enforce the contract or if a lawsuit is brought against you your gonna have to travel to kansas to defend yourself. That's expensive both in your travel time and getting a lawyer in foreign jurisdiction is always scary/expensive/problematic and ultimately can discourage someone from bringing a lawsuit to enforce legitimate rights. most importantly in a contract if your the one likely to bring the lawsuit say your selling goods and your getting paid over time you delivered the goods so that prob won't be the breach but what might most likely be the breach is the payments, they stop, then you want to spend as little money as possible to bring that suit and one of those costs is where you bring it and if you have to travel far/hire lawyers in other states that’s an added cost. There are 2 components to a jurisdictional provision the first component is what law applies it says often the laws of kansas will apply that means the case could be brought in any jurisdiction but when it’s brought in that jurisdiction the laws of kansas still apply- so the courts are to apply Kansas law even if the case is say brought in TX or GA. The second type of provision is any suit brought must be brought in a specific state and it's often down to the county or a particular part of the state and in those circumstances the lawsuit must be brought in that area. So if it says a lawsuit must be brought in Kansas then the lawsuit must be brought in Kansas and if it’s brought in another state it’s grounds to move to dismiss or transfer it to kansas. So often in JPs you have ‘the laws of Kansas shall apply in any suit brought to enforce or arise under this contract shall be brought in the state of Kansas’ meaning the laws of kansas apply/the suit must be brought in kansas. On these JPs you have multiple states say you're dealing with someone in Kansas and you're from Georgia and you both can agree well let’S have both Georgia and Kansas apply and you can choose each state that’s totally fine. Or if you leave it blank and say nothing then the suit can be brought in any state as long as the state has jurisdiction. So a person can bring it in Kansas since that's where some of the parties were or Georgia or maybe the contract was performed in Texas maybe the case can be brought in TX. but when negotiating a contract you always try to have the state that you live in as the state where the suit is brought. Do not look at that as boilerplate language otherwise it will cost you. Hope that was helpful thank you.

Read other articles we've written

Need professional and effective representation?