Criminal Jurisdiction over the Internet: Jurisdictional Links in the Cyber Era

Cambridge Law Review 2019

28 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2021

See all articles by Dominik Zając

Dominik Zając

Jagiellonian University, Department of Criminal Law

Date Written: December 20, 2019


A result of the creation of the Internet is that the real world no longer is the only space in which interpersonal interaction occurs. Now, a completely new, somehow parallel-to-reality plane exists that escapes geographical limitations. It forces a redefinition of the concepts of sovereignty and jurisdiction. Individual countries, to some extent grouped, have begun to seek any foothold that allows them to regulate and punish behaviors undertaken by Internet users. This study is a critical analysis of solutions used to determine the scope of criminal jurisdiction in cyberspace. Considering the intensive development of social interactions undertaken using the Internet, it appears justified to move away from a rigid model of jurisdictional rules and shift to a discursive model based on weighing the interests of states. The considerations are divided into six parts. Section II presents a short description of a method based on classical jurisdictional rules. Section III includes a discussion of traditional approach defects, particularly considering those features that prevent the application of that traditional approach to behaviors undertaken using cyberspace. Section IV discusses an alternative method of determining the scope of jurisdiction based on important elements of the social situation (jurisdictional links). Sections V and VI parts are devoted to an analysis of individual nexuses. In Section VII, the method of weighing the significance of the links is presented. This method allows granting a particular state the right to regulate or impose a penalty for a given behavior on the Internet.

Suggested Citation

Zając, Dominik, Criminal Jurisdiction over the Internet: Jurisdictional Links in the Cyber Era (December 20, 2019). Cambridge Law Review 2019, Available at SSRN:

Dominik Zając (Contact Author)

Jagiellonian University, Department of Criminal Law ( email )

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Kraków, Lesser Poland District 31-007
+48 609 703 968 (Phone)

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