Posted 30 January 2007 - 01:56 PM
I think that Joe is probably right that there's a typo in there, and it should be "of" rather than "or."
The whole thing, including the bolded part is an attempt to dictate a choice of law, though whether or not a court will honor and follow it is probably a matter of context and persuasion more than anything else.
Choice of Law is not jurisdiction, though the two are related concepts.
Jurisdiction means the power of a court to hear a case. This may be tied to the territorial authority of a court, so that a court in Nevada may have the jurisdiction to hear cases where the events that led to them happened in Nevada (the territory of Nevada).
Jurisdiction also involves the statutory or constitutional authority of a court to hear a case, so that for instance, a minor traffic court doesn't have the jurisdiction to hear a major felony case, though it may have the jurisdiction to hold an initial arrangement in such a case, to set bail for someone who may have just been arrested, so that their case can move up to a higher level court for further proceedings.
So Jurisdiction may be based upon a limited purpose, or set for a limited time. For example, a court may be one that you could bring an appeal to if certain requirements may be met, and one of those might be filing an appeal within a certain amount of time. Once that time period passes, that court may no longer have the jurisdiction to hear an appeal.
Courts may be limited in jurisdiction to only hear certain types of cases. So, for instance, the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware could handle properly filed shareholders actions for some businesses, but they could not handle criminal cases against those businesses.
There may be instances where more than one court could have jurisdiction over a set of actions - so if there is an instance where a kidnapping and a murder takes place, and at some point the accused crosses over state lines, kidnapping and/or murder charges might possibly be filed in more than one state, and maybe even in federal court. The Statutes involved may be different, but the events that triggered them may be the same.
While jurisdiction often is limited to the place where the events involved happen, sometimes those events happen in a way which crosses over the borders of more than one state or country. Many states, and countries have "long arm statutes" which allow them to take jurisdiction over a case even though part of it took place elsewhere. These long arm statutes (the long arm of the law) are usually very limited in scope, and jurisdiction over a case may be a major part of the argument presented by a lawyer - does the court the case was brought in have jurisdiction over a case.
I could go on about jurisdiction, because there's a lot more to it, but I'm not going to do so.
Choice of Law is an analysis that is undertaken by a court to try to decide which law should apply to a case, and is often an issue that is separate to the one about jurisdiction. If a legal case involves someone selling something in California, and someone buying something in Arizona, the court needs to decide whether they are following California law or Arizona law. It doesn't matter if the court in in California or Arizona. A court in Arizona may attempt to follow California law in handing out a ruling.
That's what the bolded part means.
That terms of service provision may be one thing that the court looks at in making a decision as to which choice of law to follow. If there's a choice of law provision in a contract that is signed and agreed to by both parties, it may hold to that provision if it finds that the contract is binding and enforceable in full. There are sometimes disputes about the validity of a contract, though. If the terms of service are something that you are presumed to agree to, without any express indication such as signing a contract, it might be possible that a court may not hold them to apply.
If the issue involved is one that involves federal law, and the federal law is different than the state law, than a federal court may not follow the choice of law of California. The same with laws involving people who may be located in different nations, and courts in those.
If you find yourself in a dispute involving interpreting that provision, you really need to have an experienced attorney review it within the context of that case. What I've provided here is only the briefest of summaries of a complex area of the law.