Venue is the proper or most convenient location for trial of a case. It is the location where a case is heard. It refers to the proper jurisdiction and court that may hear a specific suit. It is concerned with the geographical location of the court where a specific suit is commenced. In order to have a valid judgment, there is no constitutional requirement for a proper venue.
The United States federal courts general venue statute is United States Code, Title 28, Section 1391 (28 U.S.C. § 1391); the special rules on deciding venue is listed in §§ 1392-1413 of Title 28 of the United States Code.
Venue in a criminal case is usually the judicial district or county where the crime was committed. For civil cases, venue is usually the district or county which is the residence of a principal defendant, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident took place.
However, the parties may agree to a different venue or change of venue for convenience such as where most witnesses are located. Either party may move for a change of venue, for certain reasons. When a lawsuit is filed in a district or county which is not the proper venue, the defendant may immediately object and ask for a change of venue; where appropriate, the court will order transfer of such case to the proper venue.
In certain high profile criminal cases the original venue may not be considered as the best venue due to possible prejudice that may crop up from pre-trial publicity in the area or any public sentiment about the case which might impact upon potential jurors. Change of venue is up to the discretion of a judge in the court where the case or prosecution was originally filed.