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Short Description

A Jurisdiction is the composition of a (non-empty) set of objectives, one scope, one legal system and one party (called the Governor of the Jurisdiction) that operates the legal system within that scope. While most people are familiar with what we call legal jurisdictions, please observe that organizations habitually will have rules (business policies) in place, enforce them (to some extent), and have ways of resolving conflicts, and therefore qualify as a jurisdiction. Specifically, multi-national organizations are known to govern multiple jurisdictions, aligning the scopes with the scopes of other (often legal) jurisdictions for the purpose of preventing situations in which conflicting rules apply, which would lead to many effort-intensive conflict-resolution cases.

The Jurisdictions pattern provides an overview of how this concept fits in with related concepts.

Within the context of Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI), jurisdictions are relevant because it is typical for (business) transactions to be governed by (at least) one jurisdiction, whose legal system may contain rules of various kinds, e.g. in the areas of

  • escalation - i.e. what can be done if a transaction goes sour;
  • privacy - e.g. whether or not the GDPR or related legislation applies;
  • representation - e.g. rules about how old one must be in order to be entitled to do something, rules on how one may represent an organization or a person, guardianships, etc.


The ability to distinguish between (non)jurisdictions is a very generic enabler for us to tell which rules (laws, policies, guidelines, etc.) will apply in which situations, which party governs and enforces these rules, and where we should look to resolve any conflicts.


the composition of one scope, one legal system and one party that operates the legal system within that scope.


The case can be made for Nature to qualify as a jurisdiction, postulating that this jurisdiction has a universal scope, its party would be 'Nature' itself (which can be argued to qualify as a party), and the legal system that Nature operates are the 'laws of nature' (which Nature defines, enforces and settles disputes in). If one adopts this view, then people become (natural) owners of e.g. assertions, their knowledge etc. Also, natural resources (e.g. rivers) would be legal entities in that jurisdiction, since they are 'known, and recognized to exist' by Nature.