(f) Jurisdiction

Here, 'jurisdiction' means the geographical area having law relevant to the problem.128 The jurisdiction may comprise the country ('federal law'); a state, territory, or province ('state law'); or a city, town, borough, or municipality ('local law'). The law of more than 1 of these levels may apply to the 1 set of facts.

Under 'place', you would have identified the geographic location where the event happened. Now, you must identify whose law applies to the subject matter of the dispute—federal, state, or local. For example, a federal law might govern a legal problem arising in a particular state.

Each level of government has its own responsibilities. Knowing these responsibilities can help in finding relevant information. For example, knowing which Parliament has power to make a statute makes it easier to look for that statute. But sometimes the 1 topic involves more than 1 level of government. So take the safest course and check all levels.

To give you a feel for which law might apply, the charts below list the topics usually covered by each level in Australia, the UK, and the USA.

128 We have based this section on Stephen Elias and Susan Levinkind, Legal Research: How to Find & Understand the Law (13th ed, 2005) 4/3.

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