I wasn't sure if this is better for the site itself or for the meta site. But just in case there is a proper legal term, I figured maybe the question does belong on the site.

We have some questions and answers which confuse what jurisdiction some laws claims (de jure) and what jurisdiction they have (de facto).

Some examples of these are

  • ICC has made some claim of jurisdiction over the US, while the US has denied ICC this jurisdiction.
  • EU-block countries claim that GDPR applies to all entities which interact with the member-countries' citizens. But the US entities without any physical presence or assets in EU-member countries appear to be outside of the de facto reach of GDPR.
  • The US criminal justice system claims jurisdiction over any citizen of any country, but it does not de facto (rather than de jure) apply to the countries with no extradition treaties with the US.

The best I can describe this situation is the way I did in the question's title. The entities are outside of reach of those laws, but they are not outside of claim of reach of those laws. However, if this is not the formal terminology, then simply stating "outside the reach of the law of X" is likely to result in answers trying to correct the assumptions of the question by attempting to explain that the entities are not outside of the claim of the reach of those laws.

Are there any legal terms which can make it clear that such questions are about the "outside of reach" rather than "outside of claim of reach" situations?

  • What's ICC? International Cricket Council?
    – Greendrake
    Sep 11, 2021 at 3:25
  • @Greendrake no.
    – grovkin
    Sep 11, 2021 at 3:50

3 Answers 3


Exorbitant Jurisdiction is the phrase often used for this.

  • Interesting. I've never seen that phrase used before.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 22, 2021 at 17:23

Are there any legal terms which can make it clear that such questions are about the "outside of reach" rather than "outside of claim of reach" situations?


Laws that claim but cannot reach lack enforceability.

Note that enforceability is case-specific and subjective. The US may or may not be able to reach out to those it deems to be criminals on the other side of the world; those may or may not care.

  • is that the most precise term though? do you think if I stipulated that GDPR is not enforceable against a US entity, it would not raise objections from those familiar with the European law that even US entities must comply if they service EU-members' citizens?
    – grovkin
    Sep 11, 2021 at 3:58
  • @grovkin Objections will always be raised regardless of enforceability. That's why we have courts of law.
    – Greendrake
    Sep 11, 2021 at 6:12
  • I meant on this site. Is the term "unenforceable" precise enough that you would not expect objections to it if, for example, a question relied on the premise that GDPR is unenforceable in the US?
    – grovkin
    Sep 11, 2021 at 6:20
  • @grovkin I don't see why it's not precise enough given how circumstantial and subjective enforceability itself is. Call something unenforceable and you'll always get replies "it depends" and examples where it will be enforceable, and vice versa.
    – Greendrake
    Sep 11, 2021 at 6:37

A country can assert jurisdiction irrespective of whether or not they can practically enforce it or whether that assertion is accepted or contested by other countries.

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