In most common law systems, jurisdiction is conceptually divided between jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case and jurisdiction over the person of the litigants. (See personal jurisdiction.) Sometimes a court may exercise jurisdiction over property located within the perimeter of its powers without regard to personal jurisdiction over the litigants; this is called jurisdiction in rem''.
A court whose subject-matter jurisdiction is limited to certain types of controversies (for example, suits in admiralty or suits where the monetary amount sought is less than a specified sum) is sometimes referred to as a court of special jurisdiction or court of limited jurisdiction.
A court whose subject-matter is not limited to certain types of controversy is referred to as a court of general jurisdiction. In the United States, each state has courts of general jurisdiction; most states also have some courts of limited jurisdiction. The United States federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction: they may only hear cases arising under federal law and treaties, cases involving ambassadors, admiralty cases, controversies between states or between a state and citizens of another state, lawsuits involving citizens of different states, and against foreign states and citizens.
Sometimes when the areas of separate governmental entitities overlap one another--for example, between a state and the federation to which it belongs-- their jurisdiction is shared or concurrent. Otherwise one governmental entity will have exclusive jurisdiction over the shared area. When jurisdiction is concurrent, one governmental entity may have supreme jurisdiction over the other entity if their laws conflict. If the executive or legislative powers within the jurisdiction are not restricted or restricted only by a number of limited restrictions, these government branches have plenary power such as the police power. Otherwise an enabling act grants only limited or enumerated powers.
Unions also use jurisdiction to refer to the geographical boundaries of their operations, as in those cases in which a national or international union allocates the right to represent workers among different local unions based on the place of those workers' employment, either along geographical lines or by adopting the boundaries between political jurisdictions.