Professor Scott Dodson on Hybridizing Jurisdiction

Scott DodsonIn the second installment of the Spring 2011 Faculty Workshop Series, sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Professor Scott Dodson, Associate Professor of Law at William and Mary, came to speak on February 21 about his forthcoming article, Hybridizing Jurisdiction. Professor Dodson’s talk was part of the Junior Faculty Workshop Series as well, which allows younger professors to benefit from both a discussion and critique of their papers from more experienced faculty.

Professor Dodson’s paper challenged the traditional notions of jurisdictionality. Historically, an issue is either jurisdictional or its nonjurisdictional. Unlike matters of procedure or substance, which are nonjurisdictional, a jurisdictional issue cannot be consented to or waived. A jurisdictional defect may be raised by any party at any time and any judgment entered into without jurisdiction is void. Therefore, it can often be quite important if a particular factor is deemed jurisdictional or not.

Professor Dodson argued that the lines are not so clear when dealing with jurisdictionality. Courts have allowed jurisdictional defects to be waived and barred nonjurisdictional issues from being consented to. Professor Dodson discussed this disparity and suggested a more open hybridization of jurisdictionality. A jurisdictional issue can be hybridized with various nonjurisdictional features and considerations. Thus, he argues, each form would enable regulation of jurisdiction in ways that can be beneficial to parties and the judicial system as a whole to minimize costs and maximize advantages.

Professor Dodson’s paper generated a healthy discussion from W&L’s faculty, who, in turn, asked pointed and insightful questions of the young William & Mary professor.

Many thanks to Professor Dodson for coming and we hope he found his visit productive and helpful.

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