Types of Law and Jurisdiction

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the different types of law
  • Discuss the different types of jurisdiction

Types of Law

There are two basic types of law in any legal system- Civil and Criminal. Below is a table differentiating the two:

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Types of Jurisdictions

Every court system has jurisdiction over certain cases, from enforcing traffic laws to hearing capital murder charges. There are three types of jurisdictions:

  1. Original Jurisdiction– the court that gets to hear the case first. For example Municipal courts typically have original jurisdiction over traffic offenses the occur within city limits.
  2. Appellate Jurisdiction– the power for a higher court to review a lower courts decision. For example, the Texas Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction over the District Courts (See the hierarchy of Texas Court Structure in this Unit).
  3. Exclusive Jurisdiction– only that court can hear a specific case. For example only the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Court can hear appeals for death penalty sentences.