Original jurisdiction
The original jurisdiction of a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction
Appellate jurisdiction
Appellate jurisdiction is the power of the Supreme Court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right...

, when a court has the power to review a lower court's decision.


The lowest civil court of France, the tribunal de première instance ("Court of Common Pleas"), has original jurisdiction over most civil matters except areas of specialist exclusive jurisdiction
Exclusive jurisdiction
In civil procedure, exclusive jurisdiction exists where one court has the power to adjudicate a case to the exclusion of all other courts. It is the opposite situation from concurrent jurisdiction, in which more than one court may take jurisdiction over the case.Exclusive jurisdiction is typically...

, those being mainly land estates, business and consumer matters, social security, and labor. All criminal matters may pass summarily through the lowest criminal court, the tribunal de police, but each court has both original and limited jurisdiction over certain separate levels of offences:
  • juge de proximité ("Magistrate Court") - petty misdemeanors and violations;
  • tribunal de police ("Police Court") - gross misdemeanors or summary offences (summary jurisdiction);
  • tribunal correctionnel ("Criminal Court") - felonies or indictable offences generally;
  • cour d'assises ("Court of Sessions") - capital and first-degree felonies or major indictable offences, high crimes, crimes against the State.

For the administrative stream, any administrative court has original jurisdiction. However, while the Council of State has supreme appellate jurisdiction for administrative appeals, it also has original jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 on a number of matters brought against national governmental authorities including cases against statutory instruments (executive and ministerial orders) and certain types of administrative decisions. These decisions are made up out of 2/3 Congress's vote.

United States

In the United States, courts having original jurisdiction are referred to as trial courts. In certain types of cases, the U.S. Supreme Court has original jurisdiction concurrently
Concurrent jurisdiction
Concurrent jurisdiction exists where two or more courts from different systems simultaneously have jurisdiction over a specific case. This situation leads to forum shopping, as parties will try to have their civil or criminal case heard in the court that they perceive will be most favorable to...

 with lower courts. The original jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court is governed by
Article III, Section 2 of the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...


In the federal court system and most U.S. state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

s, there is not one type of trial court, but several. That is, there are several specialized courts with original jurisdiction over specific types of matters, and then a court with original jurisdiction over anything not reserved to more specialized courts. In some states, the latter type of trial courts often also have appellate jurisdiction from the more specialized courts, and are therefore called superior court
Superior court
In common law systems, a superior court is a court of general competence which typically has unlimited jurisdiction with regard to civil and criminal legal cases...

s to distinguish them from inferior courts.
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