Texas Attorney General Opinion: GA-0660 Page: 4 of 10
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The Honorable Jeri Yenne - Page 4
to adjudicate a case." Reiss v. Reiss, 118 S.W.3d 439,443 (Tex. 2003) (citing Dubai Petroleum Co.
v. Kazi, 12 S.W.3d 71, 75 (Tex. 2000)); In re Sheppard, 193 S.W.3d 181, 185 (Tex. App.-Houston
[1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.) (citing Reiss, 118 S.W.3d at 443). Whether a court has jurisdiction is a
question of law. See Tex. Dep 't ofParks & Wildlife v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004)
(citing Tex. Natural Res. Conservation Comm'n v. IT-Davy, 74 S.W.3d 849, 855 (Tex. 2002))
(subject-matter jurisdiction); BMC Software Belgium v. Marchand, 83 S.W.3d 789, 794 (Tex. 2002)
(citing Hotel Partners v. Craig, 993 S.W.2d 116, 120 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1994, writ denied))
Courts considering civil matters have stated that jurisdiction comprises two components:
subject-matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction over a party. See CSR Ltd. v. Link, 925 S.W.2d
591, 594 (Tex. 1996); Fed. Underwriters Exch. v. Pugh, 174 S.W.2d 598, 600 (Tex. 1943); see also
Ace Ins. Co. v. Zurich Amer. Ins. Co., 59 S.W.3d 424, 428 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2001,
pet. denied) (defining subject-matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction (quoting United States v.
Morton, 467 U.S. 822, 828 (1984)). Subject-matter jurisdiction "refers to the court's power to hear
a particular type of suit" and "exists by operation of law only." CSR Ltd., 925 S.W.2d at 594; Fed.
Underwriters Exch., 174 S.W.2d at 600. Subject-matter jurisdiction comprises both subject-matter
and territorial components. See Lange v. State, 639 S.W.2d 304, 305 (Tex. Crim. App. 1982),
superseded by rule on other grounds as stated by Volosen v. State, 227 S.W.3d 77, 81 n. 12 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2007); Estrada v. State, 148 S.W.3d 506, 508 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2004, no pet.).
Personal jurisdiction, on the other hand, "concerns the court's power to bind a particular person
or party" and "can be conferred by consent or waiver." CSR Ltd., 925 S.W.2d at 594; Fed.
Underwriters Exch., 174 S.W.2d at 600; see also Kawasaki Steel Corp. v. Middleton, 699 S.W.2d
199, 200 (Tex. 1985) (setting out the two elements of personal jurisdiction: (1) the defendant must
be amenable to the court's jurisdiction, and (2) the plaintiff must invoke that jurisdiction by valid
service of process).
Government Code chapter 29, which concerns municipal courts generally, provides such
courts with "exclusive original jurisdiction within the municipality's territorial limits and property
owned by the municipality located in the municipality's extraterritorial jurisdiction in all criminal
cases that" arise under municipal ordinances and that are punishable by a fine not to exceed a certain
amount. TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 29.003(a) (Vernon Supp. 2008); accord TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC.
ANN. art. 4.14(a) (Vernon 2005); cf TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 30.00005(a) (Vernon Supp. 2008)
(stating that a municipal court of record "has the jurisdiction provided by general law for municipal
courts"). A municipal court also has "concurrent jurisdiction with the justice court of a precinct in
which the municipality is located" in certain other criminal cases "arising under state law that arise
within the municipality's territorial limits or property owned by the municipality located in the
municipality's extraterritorial jurisdiction" and that are punishable by fine and sanctions not
consisting of confinement in jail or imprisonment. TEX. GOV'T CODEANN. 29.003(b)-(c) (Vernon
Supp. 2008); accord TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 4.14(b) (Vernon 2005); cf TEX. GOV'T CODE
ANN. 30.00005(a) (Vernon Supp. 2008) (stating that a municipal court of record "has the
jurisdiction provided by general law for municipal courts"); id. 30.00005(c) (allowing a municipal
governing body to provide a municipal court of record with jurisdiction concurrent with a justice
court in any precinct in which the municipality is located in certain criminal cases). Nothing in
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: GA-0660, text, 2008; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth275556/m1/4/: accessed October 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.