Subject matter jurisdiction


The power to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the proceeding in question belongs. Determined by the LAW IN FORCE at the time of its institution. Once the court acquires jurisdiction, it may not be ousted by any subsequent law placing jurisdiction in another tribunal, except:

[1] When the law itself so provides, or;
[2] The statute is clearly intended to apply to actions pending before its enactment.

Jurisdiction of courts over the subject matter is conferred by legislative enactment which none but the legislature can change.

Once jurisdiction is acquired, court RETAINS it until the final determination of the case. (Read about "principle of adherence of jurisdiction.")

Jurisdiction over the subject matter is never acquired by consent or acquiescence of the parties or by laches, nor by unilateral assumption thereof by a tribunal. It is determined by the ALLEGATIONS in the complaint and the CHARACTER of the relief sought. Finally, it does not depend on pleas or defenses of defendant in an answer or motion to dismiss.