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Definition of Venue

Venue is the geographical area where a specific court can hear a case. Sometimes it is the same location where the trial occurred, unless either the defendant or plaintiff request a change of venue due to issues which may make it impossible to get a fair trial, such as negative publicity.

For civil procedures you will need to understand your state's jurisdictional requirements and federal rules of civil procedure. As the plaintiff, it is your burden to show that a particular court has jurisdiction over your lawsuit. For example, federal courts will settle questions of federal law and issues between parties of different states if the amount is higher than a specific level (i.e. $50,000).

To prove a court has jurisdiction it may depend on the facts of the case and the parties involved in the controversy. Identifying the jurisdiction is the first step; the next step is making sure you have chosen the right court. State courts typically have two or three tier systems. For example, if you have a small claim which is less than $5,000 you must file in small claims court. For claims which are less than $25,000 you must file in a municipal. Superior courts can hear cases for more than $25,000. Other courts will hear specific cases such as family courts or probate courts.

Venue, however, refers to the appropriate court which is geographically close to the parties who are involved in the lawsuit. Some states have passed mandatory venue rules for certain types of lawsuits.

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