For example from lawinsider emphasis mine

Forum Selection. Any litigation based hereon or arising out of, under or in connection with this Agreement, may be brought and maintained non-exclusively in the courts of the State of New York or in the United States District Court for the District of New York.


Forum Selection. The Parties consent to the exclusive jurisdiction of the State and Federal Courts located in the State and City of New York, for any dispute arising out of this Settlement Agreement.

What's the difference between non-exclusive and exclusive in the context of which court a dispute would be brought to?

1 Answer 1


Exclusive jurisdiction purports to restrict disputes to the courts of the nominated jurisdiction only. Non-exclusive jurisdiction indicates the parties preference for the courts of the named jurisdiction but does not purport to limit it to that jurisdiction.

Ultimately, the decision of if a dispute can be heard by a given court is up to that court - not the parties to a contract. Courts will often respect non-exclusive jurisdiction clauses and refuse to hear disputes that nominate another jurisdiction unless local law requires them to hear the dispute. Conversely, purported exclusive jurisdiction is prima facie a void provision because the parties have no power over the courts.

  • It could also be because the jurisdiction favor one party in a case either because of case law or because it's definatly not illegal under that jurisdiction's laws. For example, Deleware has some of the most developed case laws for coorperations in the U.S., so if you are suing over coorperate matters, chances are the contract will stipulate it's in Delaware, at best to make it a short case as it's been done before, or at worst because the writing party will favor their case.
    – hszmv
    May 15, 2019 at 20:15
  • @hszmv sure, but there has to be a link with the jurisdiction- a Delaware court is unlikely to have jurisdiction over a contract between a Californian and a French company for work done in New Zealand
    – Dale M
    May 15, 2019 at 21:03
  • The purpose of a non-exclusive jurisdiction clause is usually to provide some workable forum for an aggrieved party to utilize, often because localizing a transaction and deciding who has jurisdiction isn't obvious (e.g. in an Internet transaction). Exclusive jurisdiction clauses try to determine in advance where a lawsuit will be brought, perhaps out of convenience or because that forum is particularly desirable for one or both parties. For example, in marijuana business contracts in CO, the state courts of CO are often selected as an exclusive jurisdiction to avoid illegality arguments.
    – ohwilleke
    May 16, 2019 at 1:36
  • I don't really see the point of having non-exclusive jurisdiction clause in a contract since it could be ignored?
    – AceCool
    May 17, 2019 at 8:35
  • @AceCool it can but it usually won’t be - your contract cannot bind the court (because that’s an organ of the state) but it can bind the parties to the contract. If the parties have chosen the non-exclusive jurisdiction of, say, France, then in 99.99% of cases a party that approaches a court in another jurisdiction will be told to “go to France”.
    – Dale M
    May 17, 2019 at 9:21

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