Jurisdiction over Persons and Things
It makes a difference whether a plaintiff seeks a determination that he or she has a right in a thing (i.e., a right in rem, for instance, that he or she is the owner of a particular object, like a painting or a piece of real property) or whether he or she seeks a decision establishing his or her right to a thing. An example of the latter is the claim that he or she, and not the defendant, is entitled to have the thing, and that the defendant, who now owns it, should hand it over. In the first case, the thing is the object of the litigation; in the second, the litigation is about the obligation (or lack of it) that the litigants owe to each other. For the first case, the court needs to have jurisdiction over the thing (the thing must be physically subject to its power): The court at the situs (location of the thing) has in rem jurisdiction (“over the thing”). In the second type of case – when the issue is the relationship of the parties to each other (for instance, an obligation to pay money) – even when the claim is in some way related to a thing (for instance, that the money is owed in payment for a thing), the court needs jurisdiction over the person of the defendant (in personam jurisdiction). Sections 3.2 to 3.7 deal with the prerequisites and other issues relating to a court’s assertion of personal (in personam) jurisdiction....
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