By the use of a jurisdiction clause or forum clause, the parties to a contract elect which courts will have the right to adjudicate disputes under the contract. For example, the courts of Delaware or the courts of New Zealand.
A clause may purport to grant jurisdictional rights to the courts of more than one jurisdiction.
Jurisdiction is commonly granted on an exclusive basis (meaning that no other courts except those specified should be able to adjudicate disputes) or a non-exclusive basis (meaning that other courts may have the right to adjudicate disputes, in addition to the named courts). An example of a straightforward exclusive jurisdiction clause is set out below.
The courts of .......... will have exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate any dispute arising under or in connection with this Agreement.An example non-exclusive clause is:
The courts of .......... will have non-exclusive jurisdiction to adjudicate any dispute arising under or in connection with this Agreement.
As with governing law clauses, there may be a complex interaction between jurisdiction clauses and private international law (conflict of laws) and - this should go without saying - the parties to a contract will not always get what they wish for.