Personal jurisdiction means the ability of a court having subject matter jurisdiction to exercise power over a particular defendant or item of property. There are however certain limitations on the personal jurisdiction of courts. The limitations may be either statutory or constitutional. Due to the statutory limitations imposed, even though states have the power to decide over whom their courts may exercise jurisdiction, before the exercise of such jurisdiction, courts should look into the state law to determine whether the court can properly exercise personal jurisdiction.
The constitutional limitations on personal jurisdiction may be on the aspect of nexus (minimum contacts) or notice. The concept of due process places two restrictions on personal jurisdiction
- Parties must receive fair and adequate notice of the action
- There must be minimum contacts with the forum state
The constitutional limitation also specifies that though a state cannot exceed the constitutional boundaries, it is not required to reach the full limit of constitutional power.
There are three types of personal jurisdiction. They are-
- In Personam Jurisdiction- A court having personal jurisdiction can exercise powers over the person of a particular defendant.
- In Rem Jurisdiction- A court having in rem jurisdiction will have the power to adjudicate the rights of all persons with respect to a particular item of property. However to exercise in rem jurisdiction, the property must generally be located within physical boundaries of the state.
- Quasi-in-rem Jurisdiction- A court having quasi in rem jurisdiction will have the power to determine whether particular individuals own specific property within the court’s control. The court can adjudicate disputes other than ownership based upon the presence of the defendant’s property in the forum.