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In Law, What Is Situs?

It is absolutely important that laws be applied within the jurisdiction that provided for it. Thus, an entire country may be subject to a constitution, but not necessarily to certain ordinances or statutes. These ordinances and statutes may only apply to the local jurisdiction in which they were created and subsequently enforced. Thus, the location of where a law can be applied is absolutely necessary to legal issues and matters.


Situs is Latin for position or site. In law, situs is a legal term meaning “site” where a law applies. Situs is valuable because its recognition allows for the application of law. If the law does not originate and exist at a national level, then it cannot be applied at the national or any subsequent lower levels of governance. For example, a property located in an outside area of a city might be subject to different laws and privileges than property located inside the city limits. Thus, the property is subject to laws depending upon its location and the recognition of the property as being part of that area.


Situs can also refer to a place where someone lives, as when that someone owes money or committed a crime. It is most common for a criminal or civil case to be tried in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed or where the defendant resides. Therefore, certain laws can be applied while others cannot due to the recognition of what is law in that respective jurisdiction. Situs can also refer to copyrights, patents, or intellectual property.

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