How is venue determined in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Court Rules address venue very specifically. R. 4:3-2 discusses which county is the proper place to file a case. R. 4:3-1 contains directions as to whether the Law Division or the Chancery Division is appropriate. In general, venue is proper in the county in which the cause of action arose, or in which any party to the action resides at the time the action is instituted or, in case of a nonresident defendant, the county in which the summons was served. Exceptions include actions affecting title to or other interests in real property, where the only proper venue is the county in which the property is located, actions against public agencies or officials, which must be brought where the cause of action arose, and receivership, attachment, family, probate, and Special Civil Part cases, all of which have their own venue rules. See R. 4:53-2 (receivership); R. 4:60-2 (attachment); R. 5:2-1 (family); R. 4:83-4 (probate); R. 6:1-3 (Special Civil Part). Furthermore, for venue purposes, R. 4:3-2(b), deems a corporation to reside in the county in which its registered office is located or in any county in which it is actually doing business.

When more than one venue is appropriate for a particular case, you must consider the nature of the case, whether a jury trial will be sought, how quickly case calendars are moving, and other factors that may lead to a choice of one county over another. If the case is to be filed in the Chancery Division, where one judge normally handles the matter for its entire duration, you may wish to consider the identities of the particular judges involved in making decisions about where to file. Forum-shopping and judge-shopping, though condemned by many in the abstract, are venerable tactics that every good lawyer should use reasonably to aid his client.

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