This is about this answer by me to Does the Right to be Informed of Charges apply out of the legal system? and the comment saying

Since when has the Canadian CRF applied to the USA?

The question clearly asked a question about the legal system of Canada and specifically about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The title, however is general and does not specify a jurisdiction.

I therefore answered the question pointing out the answer for the corresponding situation in the US, because people searching on the title might find the US answer helpful, and because when I first looked at the title I thought of the issue as it would occur in the US legal system.

As it says in this upvoted meta answer by user feetwet:

Even if the OP specifies a locale, an answer that applies to a different locale should still be allowed, and encouraged if it would illuminate others interested in the general question.

If people really object to providing an analogous US answer to a question about Canada, then I will create a very similar question about the US, link it to the existing question, copy my answer to that question, and delete it from the one about Canada linked above. it seems to me that having such related answers is helpful to many users, and should be encouraged. But if the policy is otherwise, that should be clearly stated.

Questions Is it ok to close questions of the sort described above? Can we update the Help center page about what is on-topic so that this is clearly covered, one way or the other? Consensus answers would be helpful


3 Answers 3


Another upvoted meta answer also by feetwet, includes this commentary:

If we required a separate question for every jurisdiction of interest we'd immediately be contemplating an increase in the number of questions by at least an order of magnitude, with a corresponding decrease in the answer rate.

The custom so far on Law.SE has been to allow answers for different jurisdictions, even when a specific jurisdiction was specified, and especially when the answers for unspecified jurisdictions are particularly illuminating.

Another common practice is for someone to ask in a comment what jurisdiction is involved. Again, that doesn't shut down answers for other jurisdictions, because it appears that everybody is happy knowing something applicable to the question if the alternative is having nothing because there is no expert in the desired jurisdiction.

I just don't see any practical alternative to the current customs. And it does seem to be illuminating to have experts from multiple jurisdictions providing good answers, especially when the desired jurisdiction may not have anyone with expertise to answer.

I support, and occasionally follow, this approach as it goes towards increasing the site's collective knowledge and understanding - as long as it does not cause unnecessary confusion, which can always be dealt with by down voting, flags etc.

On the main LawSE site, there are three "jurisdiction" tags:

For questions concerning whether a body has the power to make a legal decision on a particular matter.

For questions involving more than one jurisdiction at the same time, where there is no natural or general connection between them.

Extraterritorial jurisdiction is when the laws of a particular nation are applied outside that nation's territory.

But has any thought been given to having, say, an tag? With usage guidance with words to the effect:

Use when questions invite answers that are not confined to any particular jurisdiction. (This may need a bit of work)

It may be worthwhile creating an FAQ thread specifically to draw together the various meta Q&As on the subject of jurisdiction tags so it can be discussed in just one place, bearing in mind that there are currently 20 posts on this topic.


Is it ok to close questions of the sort described above?

If you like - it's your vote, use it how you want.

Can we update the Help center page about what is on-topic so that this is clearly covered, one way or the other?

Done. This has been added to What topics can I ask about here?

Please note that there are many Legal Systems in the world and each national and sub-national (state, province etc.) sovereign state implements each in it's own way. If you are looking for the law in a particular area, please tag your question with the appropriate jurisdiction tag (e.g. united-states, texas, new-york-city, england-and-wales etc.). Even if you supply a jurisdiction tag, we expect and encourage answers dealing with other jurisdictions - while it might not answer your question directly, your question will be here for others who may be from those jurisdictions.


I am compelled to point out that Rock Ape's answer and the quote from feetwet therein casts doubt on the well-known jurisdiction "problem" (that people don't always specify a jurisdiction). Taken together, everybody should specify a jurisdiction in their question, but it's better to ignore that aspect of the question as asked. But, in general we want people to answer the question actually asked.

The solution IMO is to not complain about lack of jurisdiction, and then see what kinds of answers emerge. What might even happen is that someone would select two jurisdictions, and compare how e.g. Australia and Germany treat the same problem differently.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .