Was Jones a case where the plaintiff was found not guilty by reason of insanity? Or would in which be clearer?
- Where should be used to refer to a specific location or place, or to refer to an issue in which the location matters (e.g., jurisdiction): “The jurisdiction where this case was heard was within the Ninth Circuit.”
- When should be used to refer to a specific moment in time or event: “That was the moment when the court rendered its decision.”
- In which should be used to refer to a circumstance or context. Thus, it is a better choice for referring to the details of a case: “That was the case in which the plaintiff was found not guilty by reason of insanity.”
Rule: If emphasizing TIME, use “when”; if emphasizing LOCATION, use “where”; if emphasizing CONTEXT, use “in which.”
And to make sure that you know when to use each of these words, here are a few practice problems!