Legal Definition and Related Resources of Forum

Meaning of Forum

The place in which a remedy at law can be sought.

Forum Alternative Definition

At Common Law. A place; a place of jurisdiction ; the place where a remedy is sought; jurisdiction; a court of justice. Forum conscientiae. The conscience. Forum contentiosum. A court. 3 Bl. Comm. 211. Forum contractus. The courts of the place of making a contract. 2 Kent, Comm. 463. Forum domesticum. A domestic court. 1 W. Bl. 82. Forum domicilii. The court of the place of domicile. 2 Kent, Comm. 463. Forum, ecclesiasticum. An ecclesiastical court. Forum rei gestae. The court of the place of transaction. 2 Kent, Comm. 463. Forum, rei sitae. The court of the place where the thing is situated. Forum seculare. A secular court. Forum, ligeantiae rei. The court or jurisdiction of the county to which defendant owes allegiance. Forum regium. The king’s court. St. Westminster II. c. 43. Forum rei, or rei sitae (Law Lat.) The forum or court of the thing (res rei) ; the court of the place where a thing claimed is; the tribunal where the property is. Story, Confl. Laws, § 325k. The place where a thing in controversy is situated, considered as a place of jurisdiction and remedy. 2 Kent, Comm. 463. In Roman LavA The paved open space in cities, particularly in Rome, where were held the soiemn business assemblies of the people, the markets, the exchange (whence cedere foro, to retire from ‘change, equivalent to “to become bankrupt”), and where the magistrates sat to transact the business of their office. It came afterwards to mean any place where causes were tried, locus exercendarum litium. Isidor. lib. 18, Grig. A court of justice. The obligation and the right of a person to have his case decided by a particular court. It is often synonymous with that signification of judicium, which corresponds to our word “court” (q. v.) in the sense of jurisdiction; e. g., foro interdicere (1. 1, § 13, D. 1. 12; C. 9, § 4; D. 48. 19) ; fori praescriptio (1. 7, pr. D. 2, 8; L 1, C. 3, 24) ; forum rei accusator sequitur (1. 5, pr. C. 3, 13). In this sense, the forum of a person means both the obligation and the right of that person to have his cause decided by a particular court. 5 Gluck, Pand. 237. What court should have cognizance of the cause depends, in general, upon the person of the defendant, or upon the person of some one connected with the defendant. By modern writers upon the Roman law, jurisdiction dependent on the person of the defendant is distinguished as (1) that of common right, forum commune, and (2) that of special privilege, forum privilegiatum. ‘
(1) Forum commune. The jurisdiction of common right was either general, forum generale, or special, forum speeiale. (a) Forum generale. General jurisdiction was of two kinds, the forum originis, which was that of the birthplace of the party, and the forum domicilii, that of his domicile. The forum originis was either commune or proprium. The former was that legal status which all free-born subjects of the empire, wherever residing, had at Rome when they were found there, and had not the jus revocandi domum (i. e., the right of one absent from his domicile of transferring to the forum domicilii a suit instituted against him in the place of his temporary sojourn). L. 2, §§ 3, 4, 5, D. 5, 1; 1. 28, § 4, D. 4, 6; 3 Gluck, Pand. 188. The forum originis proprium, or forum originis speeiale, was the court of that place of which at the time of the party’s birth his father was a citizen, though that might possibly be neither his own birthplace, nor the actual domicile of his father. Forum domicilii. The place of the domicile exercised the greatest influence over the rights of the party. As to what constitutes domicile, see “Domicile.” In general, one was subject to the laws and courts of his domicile alone, unless specially privileged. L. 29, D. 50, 1. (b) Forum speeiale. Particular jurisdiction. These were very numerous. The more important are: Forum contirventiae causarum. Sometimes two or more actions or disputed questions are so connected that they cannot advantageously be tried separately, although in strictness they belong to different jurisdictions. In such cases the modern civil law permits them to be determined in a single court, although such court would be incompetent in regard to a portion of them taken singly. Forum contractus, the court having cognizance of the action on a contract. Forum delicti, forum deprehensionis. The jurisdiction of the person of a criminal, and may be the court of the place where the offense was committed, or that of the place where the criminal was arrested. Forum arresti. A jurisdiction unknown to the Roman law, but of frequent occurrence in the modem civil law. It is that over persons or things detained by a judicial order, and corresponds in some degree to the “attachment” of our practice. Forum gestae administrationis. The jurisdiction over the accounts and administration of guardians, agents, and all persons appointed to manage the affairs of third parties. The court which appointed such administrator- or wherein the cause was pending in which such appointment was made, or within whose territorial limits the business of the administration was transacted, had exclusive jurisdiction over all suits arising out of his acts, or brought for the purpose of compelling him to account, or brought by him to recover compenFORUM sation for his outlays. L. 1, C. 3, 21; 6 Gluck, Pand. § 521.
(2) Forum privilegiatum. Privileged jurisdictions. In general, the privileged jurisdiction of a person held the same rank as the forum domicilii, and, like that, did not supplant the particular jurisdictions above named save in certain exceptional cases. The privilege was general in its nature, and applied to all cases not specially excepted, but it only arose when the person possessing it was sued by another; for he could not assert it when he was the plaintiff , the rule being, actor sequitur forum rei, the plaintiff must resort to the jurisdiction of the defendant. It was in general limited to personal actions; all real actions brought against the defendant in the character of possessor of the thing in dispute followed the forum speciale. The privilege embraced the wife of the privileged person and his children so long as they were under his potestas. And, lastly, when a forum privilegiatum, purely personal conflicted with the forum speciale, the former must yield. 6 Gluck, Pand. 339-341. Privileged persons were: (a) Personae miserabiles, who were persons under the special protection of the law on account of some incapacity of age, sex, mind, or condition. These were entitled, whether as plaintiffs or defendants, to carry their causes directly before the emperor, and, passing over the inferior courts, to demand a hearing before his supreme tribunal, whenever they had valid grounds for doubting the impartiality or fearing the procrastination of the inferior courts, or for dreading the influence of a powerful adversary. 6 Gluck, Pand. § 622. (b) Clerici, the clergy. The privilege of clerical persons to be impleaded only in the episcopal courts commenced under the Christian emperors. (c) Academici. In the modern civil law, the officers and students of the universities are privileged to be sued before the university courts. This species of privilege was unknown to the Roman law. See 6 Gluck, Pand. § 524. (d) Milites. Soldiers had special military courts as well in civil as criminal cases. There are many classes of persons who are privileged in respect to jurisdiction under the modern civil law who were not so privileged by the Roman law. Such are ofHcers of the court of the sovereign, including ministers of state and councillors, ambassadors, noblemen, etc. These do not require extended notice. Jwrisdietion ex persona alterius, A person might be entitled to be sued in a particular court on grounds depending upon the person of another. Such were (1) the wife, who, if the marriage had been legally contracted, acquired the forwm of her husband (I. 65, D. 5, 1; 1. ult. D. 50, 1; 1. 19, D. 2, 1), and retained it until her second marriage (1. 22. I 1, D. 50, 1) , or change of domicile. Section 93, Voet. Com. ad Pand. D. 5, 1.
(2) Servants, who possessed the jurisdiction of their master as regarded the forum domicilii, and also the forum privilegiatum, so far at least as the privilege was that of the class to which such master belonged, and was not purely personal. Gluck, Pand. § 510b. (3) The haeres, who in many cases retained the jurisdiction of his testator. When sued in the character of heir in respect to causes of action upon which suit had been commenced before the testator’s death, he must submit to the forum, which had acquired cognizance of the suit. LI. 30, 34, D. 5, 1.

Synonyms of Forum

(Court), noun

  • assize
  • the bench
  • court ofjustice
  • court of law
  • courtroom
  • forum
  • judicatory
  • judicature
  • judicial tribunal
  • panel of judges
  • session of the court
  • tribunal Associated Concepts: forum non conveniens
  • law of the forum

(Medium), noun

  • agency
  • agent
  • channel
  • instrument
  • intermediary
  • means
  • means of expression
  • mechanism
  • method of communication
  • method of expression
  • mode of communication
  • vehicle

Related Entries of Forum in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Forum in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Forum in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Forum in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Forum in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Mentioned in these terms

Forum Non Conveniens, Intrinsic Fraud, Minimum Contact.


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Related topics Forum in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Forum is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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English Legal System: Forum

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Forum :

(from Latin: public place)

The place or country in which a case is being heard. If a case involving a foreign element is brought in the English courts, the forum is England.

See lex fori.


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Forum

(You may find forum at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

mid-15c., “place of assembly in ancient Rome,” from Latin forum “marketplace, open space, public place,” apparently akin to foris, foras “out of doors, outside,” from PIE root *dhwer- “door, doorway” (see door). Sense of “assembly, place for public discussion” first recorded 1680s.

Concept of “Forum”

Traditional meaning of forum in English (with some legal use of this latin concept in England and the United States in the XIX Century) [1]: (in Latin) A court; a jurisdiction; a tribunal; a, forum, or place where legal redress is sought. Forum actus, the forum of the place where the thing was done; contractus, where the contract was made; conscientiae, the tribunal of conscience, a court of equity; domesticum, a domestic jurisdiction; domicilii, that of the domicile; domicilii actoris or rei, that of the plaintiff’s or defendant’s domicile; ecclesiasticum, a spiritual court; ligeantiae rei or actoris, the forum of allegiance of the defendant or plaintiff [of the country to which he owes allegiance]; litis mots, or fortuitum, the forum where the suit happens to be brought; originis, the forum of a person’s nativity; regium, the King’s court; rei or rei sitae, the forum where the property is; rei gestae, of the place where the act was done; saeculare, the secular court.


Notes and References

  1. Based on A Concise Law Dictionary of Words, Phrases and Maxims, “Forum”, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1911, United States. It is also called the Stimson’s Law dictionary. This term and/or definition may be absolete.

See Also

Hierarchical Display of Forum

Education And Communications > Communications
Education And Communications > Communications > Communications policy > Public consultation

Meaning of Forum

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Translation of Forum

Thesaurus of Forum

Education And Communications > Communications > Forum
Education And Communications > Communications > Communications policy > Public consultation > Forum

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