Jurisdictional fact

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Jurisdictional Fact is a concept in Administrative Law.
It is a set of circumstances set out in a statute that must exist before a government official can act. They are created by and operate in the context of government authority produced by statute and are linked to the legal concept of Jurisdiction.[1] A number of scholars have tried with limited success to categorise them.[2][3][4]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, the seminal definition is the English law case of Anisminic.[5]

Some countries like Singapore, India and Canada that have written constitutions can be constrained in their definition of Jurisdictional facts and due to the restraints in their constitutions.[6][not in citation given]


In Australia the High Court has been reticent to define Jurisdictional facts[7] finding that “The principles as to how one determines whether something is a jurisdictional fact are settled but necessarily imprecise. That must be so.” and that “to define Jurisdictional fact is neither necessary nor desirable.”[8] Despite this Australian Courts have attempted to define Jurisdictional Fact including:

  1. “A condition of jurisdiction”.[9]
  2. “A preliminary question on the answer to which … jurisdiction depends”.[10]
  3. An “event or requirement” constituting “an essential condition of the existence of jurisdiction”.[11] ....”a condition of jurisdiction”, without which a tribunal can not act.
  4. But the leading definition in Australia is The “criterion, satisfaction of which enlivens the power of the decision-maker” found in Enfield.[12]

These criteria of Jurisdiction are created by and operate through statute,[13] and may be subjective,[14] or objective in nature and may also be a complex of interactions.[15][16] but they must not be illogical,[14] or capricious and must be actual.[17]


In Singapore the concept is called Precedent fact errors.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kelly, M (2009). Administrative Law Law Briefs. Pearson Education Australia. 
  2. ^ Aronson, M; Dyer, B & Groves, M (2009). Judicial Review of Administrative Action (4th ed.).  [1.90].
  3. ^ Jaffe L, "Judicial Review: Constitutional and Jurisdictional Fact" (1957) 70 Harvard Law Review 953.
  4. ^ Creyke, R & McMillan, J (2012). Control of Government Action: Text, Cases and Commentary, (3rd ed.). 
  5. ^ Anisminic v Foreign Compensation Commission [1968] UKHL 6, [1969] 2 AC 147, House of Lords (UK).
  6. ^ Attorney-General (NSW) v Quin [1990] HCA 21, (1990) 170 CLR 1 at [127].
  7. ^ Hunt, LM & Groves, DG (2007). Australian Administrative Law, Fundamentals, Principles and Doctrines. Cambridge University Press. p. 335. 
  8. ^ Kirk v Industrial Court of NSW [2010] HCA 1, (2010) 239 CLR 531 at [71], High Court (Australia).
  9. ^ R v Connell [1944] HCA 42, (1944) 69 CLR 407 at pp 429-430, High Court (Australia).
  10. ^ R v Federal Court of Australia; Ex parte Pilkington ACI (Operations) Pty Ltd [1978] HCA 60, (1978) 142 CLR 113 at p 125], High Court (Australia).
  11. ^ Craig v South Australia [1995] HCA 58, (1995) 184 CLR 163 at [17], High Court (Australia)
  12. ^ Corporation of the City of Enfield v Development Assessment Commission [2000] HCA 5, (2000) 199 CLR 135 at p 148, High Court (Australia).
  13. ^ Timbarra Protection Coalition Inc v Ross Mining NL [1999] NSWCA 8, (1999) 46 NSWLR 55 at [28], Court of Appeal (NSW, Australia).
  14. ^ a b Minister for Immigration and Citizenship v SZMDS [2010] HCA 16, (2010) 240 CLR 611 at [30], High Court (Australia)
  15. ^ Minister for Immigration v Eshetu [1999] HCA 21, (1999) 197 CLR 611 at [130], High Court (Australia).
  16. ^ R v Hickman [1945] HCA 53, [(1945) 70 CLR 598, High Court (Australia).
  17. ^ Liversidge v Anderson [1941] UKHL 1, [1942] 2 AC 206 at 21, House of Lords (UK).