Jurisdiction is a term with different meanings and aspects. However, there is a general idea, since it is an activity of the courts of law that aims to resolve conflicts between citizens in an impartial and independent manner.
State power and the idea of jurisdiction
In most countries, state power is divided into three institutions: the executive power , formed by the government of a nation; the legislative power, formed by the group of representatives of the people and, finally, the judiciary power , which tries to judge all possible irregularities that are outside the legal framework.
Judges have the ability to adjudicate criminal disputes as well as civil, labor and family matters. Jurisdiction
Normally, in constitutional texts, it is established that the jurisdiction has a function of a public nature and is exercised by an impartial judge who has to resolve a conflict.
In addition to being optional, the proposal delimits the territoriality of justice. In other words, it alludes to the competences of the different courts of law. In each country there are usually different jurisdictions and each has its own court of appeal.
Identifying universal and voluntary jurisdiction
In addition to the territorial margins of each nation, there is universal jurisdiction. This is applied in various international courts (for example, the International Court of Justice linked to the UN) to try crimes against humanity, from terrorism to the State, on torture or cases of genocide. It has a supranational character and seeks to protect citizens from possible abuses of power and major crimes against humanity.
In the history of universal jurisdiction there is a very significant episode: Pinochet’s detention in the United Kingdom, in 1998, by order of a Spanish judge in relation to crimes committed during the Chilean dictatorship
The concept of voluntary jurisdiction can be applied in cases where there is no legal action, but there is a petition to a judge to rule on certain situations, such as the guardianship of a person with intellectual disability, a predictable conflict between a owner of a house and its tenant who does not pay the rent or the situation of a couple living in concubinage.