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What is a Motion for Change of Venue?

A motion for change of venue ensures that a case is heard in the best location. There are two basic requirements that must be met before a court can hear a case. The first is jurisdiction, which means that the court has the authority to decide the legal issues which affect the rights of the parties in the case.

The second is venue, which decides whether the court is in the best location to hear the case. Although this may sound unimportant, there are actually very strict rules concerning where a case may be heard.

State and Federal Venue Rules

Cases that involve real estate usually must be heard by the court in the same county as the real estate. Sometimes a case is filed in a court that is too far for one of the parties to travel, and was done so deliberately to make it difficult for the parties to participate in the case. In these circumstances, the affected party could probably successfully seek to have venue changed.

There are cases that are famous (or infamous) in a particular locality, and a party may wish to change venue so that jurors are less likely to have heard of the case and, therefore, be unbiased. Each state and the federal jurisdiction have their own rules concerning venue, so be sure to check your local statutes or consult with an attorney to find out where you should bring your case.

Procedure for a Change of Venue

When one party wants to change venue, she must file a motion for change of venue. Most jurisdictions have strict requirements for the motion, which can be found in that jurisdiction's rules of procedure. Usually a memorandum of law must accompany this motion, which lays out all law and the arguments for why the venue should be moved.

Last, but not least, there are often rules about when during a case a motion for change of venue may be filed. If venue is not challenged at the proper time, a challenge may not be allowed at all.

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