A Primer on Challenging Jurisdiction

At some point in your life you will be attacked by people who call themselves “government“. This attack will consist of these people making certain claims, claims which must be challenged. If the claims are proven true with verifiable facts and evidence, then the attack is no longer an attack, but an act of self-defense.

These claims are usually of the nature that a debt is owed, a service must be performed, or that your liberty must be surrendered. Each of these begins with a claim of jurisdiction, that these people’s rules (they call them laws, legal codes, Constitutions, et cetera) apply to you. It is supposed that this jurisdiction gives these people the authority to enforce their rules against you.

This foundational claim of jurisdiction must be challenged before moving to the next step of determining whether their rules were violated, because jurisdiction is the first claim these people make in their attack. They know that without jurisdiction, their rules do not apply. One cannot logically say both “You have violated my rules” and “My rules do not apply to you”, as such would be a contradiction. Therefore, claiming “You have violated my rules” is simultaneously claiming “My rules apply to you” or “I have jurisdiction over you.”

Challenging jurisdiction is not a difficult thing to do (at least, on paper). When these people say something to the effect of, “You have violated my rule that says you may not possess the cannabis plant” the first reply should be something like, “How do you know that your rule applies to me?” Observe the following dialogue:

Them: You stand accused of violating legal code 123-45, “Prohibition of a Control Substance – Cannabis”.

Me: Is it your claim that legal code 123-45 applies to me?

Them: It applies to everyone, including you, within this territory.

Me: How do you know that legal code 123-45 applies to me just because I am physically located in this territory?

Them: You are in this territory, and possess cannabis, isn’t that correct?

Me: Those facts are not under dispute. What is under dispute is your jurisdiction over me. I will rephrase: do you have personal first-hand knowledge, such as facts and evidence, that legal code 123-45 applies to me just because I am physically located in this territory?

Them: You are a human being, are you not?

Me: Is your claim that your legal codes apply to human beings?

Them: Yes, that is my claim.

Me: Okay. How do you know that claim is true? (ie. What facts and evidence do you rely on to support your claim?)

The purpose in this line of questioning is to challenge the claim of jurisdiction, a claim which should not be allowed the light of day without accompanying facts and evidence. (Here’s a longer dialogue on challenging jurisdiction.) If these people have jurisdiction, as they claim, then it should not be difficult to prove. They should have no need to engage in dishonesty or in issuing threats. When they become non-responsive, dishonest, and threatening, you know that they know that their claim of jurisdiction is without factual merit. Simply put, they are initiating an attack against you, and you have the right to defend yourself by publically and explicitly challenging their claims.

At every point, you are asking them for the facts and evidence they rely on to support their claim of jurisdiction. In every case of an accusation that a rule has been violated, jurisdiction can be challenged. Without jurisdiction, their rules are without effect. This should be made very clear by challenging their claims. They must be forced to resort to dishonesty and threats, on the record, or to drop their attack. These tactics are violations of the codes of conduct they have explicitly agreed to, and as such are grounds for effective appeal.

When the accusation is based on jurisdiction, it must be challenged. However, not every accusation is based on jurisdiction. Many accusations are based on damages suffered. The rule of thumb is to remember what is being claimed, the violation of a legal code (a crime), or damages suffered (a tort). In the latter case there is an alleged victim who may or may not be able to provide facts and evidence supporting their claim that you have damaged them and are owed restitution. In the former, there is no alleged victim, merely a group of people who call themselves “government” asserting jurisdiction and claiming you violated their rules and must be punished.

When you receive a traffic citation, are targeted by the so-called “tax authorities”, or accused of violating their rules in any other way, the first step is to challenge jurisdiction. This takes practice, and thankfully there are plenty of resources and role play groups to assist you. Contact me here or Marc Stevens on Skype at frankrizzo3 to get started. I highly recommend listening to the No State Project radio show and podcast, recorded twice a week by Marc, to get familiar with this process. I also highly recommend reading Marc’s book Government Indicted, available on Amazon here. And checkout Marc’s “5 Tips to be Effective in Court” published recently. Challenging jurisdiction has proven effective in several States and countries.


More on this topic by the author:

Evidence of Jurisdiction
On Jurisdiction
Is Taxation Theft? Yes and No
Stop Lying about Laws Applying
What the Response to the Challenge of Jurisdiction Should Tell You
The Facts on Government
My Ongoing Battle with Leviathan
Not Requiring Evidence of Jurisdiction is a Violation of Due Process
Dreamers’ Parents Never Sinned
The Essence of the Ruling Class

More on this topic by Marc Stevens at EVC:

Debunking Territorial/Personal Jurisdiction – Why it Doesn’t Exist
Don’t Let Prosecutors Intimidate You – Overcoming Their Flawed Opposition

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Skyler J. Collins (Editor)

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on the official Everything-Voluntary.com podcast.

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Regarding the dialogue in the post: Are you aware of that line of questioning ever prevailing in any court? Obviously there are jurisdiction claims that might work in court, e.g. “I am being tried for a crime in District X, when the alleged crime is said to have occurred in District Y and I live in District Z.” But this particular take on jurisdiction looks at first blush like a variety of the “if I just invoke the correct set of magic words, the judge will throw up his hands, admit he has no authority, and dismiss the case” phenomenon,… Read more »