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OUTLINE
INTRODUCTION TO MALAYSIAN LEGAL SYSTEM
BT20403 COMMERCIAL LAW TOPIC 1
Introduction What is ‘Law’? Law as Rules Legal Concepts Classification of Law Settling Disputes Sources of Malaysian Law Courts and the Administration of Justice
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INTRODUCTION
Malaysian laws shaped by local history & culture. Malaysian legal system derives many traditions from English legal system. A legal system is the framework of rules & regulations within a nation regulating individuals’ relations with each other & with government.

CONT.
Most important areas of social organizations in a legal system: Political system: the way society is governed Economic system: ownership, production & distribution of society’s resources Moral standards: what constitutes acceptable & unacceptable behaviours Social interactions: relationships between people.

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WHAT IS LAW?
So, what is Law? Law means different things to different people depending on their experience of it. Eg. Throughout history, many people have given their opinion on what law is. Law has been defined as a body of enacted or customary rules recognized by the community as binding.
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CONT.
According to Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, law represents nature or natural law. According to Karl Marx, a German socialist, law is an instrument used by capitalists to control the working class. Emile Durkheim, a sociologist, on the other hand, commented that society is held together by law. While Lord Devlin, a famous English judge, stated that law is based on morality and religion.
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Law carries a sanction or punishment for disobedience. It threatens you to obey it. M. However. developed over a long period of time that regulates interactions that people have with each other. (2) Law is capable of change over time Law does not remain the same year in year out. CONT. Law is normative in character. CONT. There are many types of punishment and these depend on the type of wrongdoing committed. (3) Law carries a sanction or punishment for disobedience In order for people to obey the law. Sir John Salmond defined law as a body of principles recognized and applied by the State in the administration of justice. Rules tell us what to do and what not to do. and c) Any custom or usage having the force of law in the Federation or in any part thereof. (Lee. imprisonment etc. 3. It has a coercive(fear) effect. fine. and which sets standards of conduct between individuals and between individuals and the government and which are enforceable through sanction. CONT. BT20403/Topic1 9 BT20403/Topic1 10 DEFINITION OF LAW Law can generally be described as a set of rules. Punishment ensures that the law is followed or obeyed. the law too must change so that it can regulate the new activities.P. John Austin regarded law as a command by a superior being to an inferior being and it is followed by a legal sanction if the law is not obeyed.BT20403/Topic1 CONT. As society changes due to advances in knowledge. BT20403/Topic1 7 BT20403/Topic1 8 CONT. Such punishment include death penalty. Last but not least. (2009)). Law is capable of change over time. The most basic way of doing this is through legal rules. like science and technology. b) Common law in so far as it is in operation in the Federation or any part thereof. From the above views. namely: 1. sanction or punishment is given if there is a breach of law. 2. it seems that law means many things to different people. law does have the following characteristics. (1) Law is normative in character This means that law regulates our behaviour in society. BT20403/Topic1 11 BT20403/Topic1 12 2 . The term ‘law’ is defined by Article 160(2) of the Malaysian Federal Constitution 1957 to include: a) The written law.

Natural justice (1) Justice (cont. BT20403/Topic1 15 BT20403/Topic1 16 (1) Justice (cont. It has been said that justice is the ultimate aim of the law. we also have to ask ourselves what law is made of. and The rights or freedoms of citizens are enforceable in the courts. law must satisfy certain basic requirements. Criminal law tells us that we cannot steal or kill. law is a system of rules that everyone in a country or society must obey. every citizen in a country knows that if he does anything wrong. processes in legal proceedings.BT20403/Topic1 LAW AS RULES According to the Oxford dictionary. So. particularly the UK and Australia.) Dicey suggested that the rule of law involves the following 3 propositions: No person must be punished except for a breach of the law. This means that the law is made up of rules. All persons are equal before the law irrespective of status or position.) (1) The rule of law (cont. or fair. 17 BT20403/Topic1 BT20403/Topic1 18 3 . namely. equality. Thus. or so obvious that they should be applied universally without needing to be enacted into law by a legislator. certain basic legal principles are required by nature. According to Roman law. if we commit these crimes. These rules tell us what we can or cannot do. he will be punished and that if he is wronged. It means that the law should include justice as an important element.) (1) The rule of law This legal principle says that nobody is above the law and that everyone is subject to the law. Eg. freedom and morality. The concept is very closely related to the principle of natural law (latin: jus naturale) which has been applied as a philosophical and practical principle in the law in several common law jurisdictions. For people to respect law and obey it. we will be punished by a punishment or sanction such as prison sentence or even death. it must contain concepts such as justice. (1) Justice (cont. BT20403/Topic1 13 BT20403/Topic1 14 (1) Justice A good law is law that is just and fair. The rule of law 2. The rule of law was formulated in its modern form in the late 19th century by Professor Dicey.) (2) Natural justice Natural justice is a legal philosophy used in some jurisdictions in the determination of just. 2 ways for law to achieve justice: 1. Legal justice refers to the way in which the law is just and fair. LEGAL CONCEPTS Besides looking at law as a set of rules which tell us how to behave. the law will protect him and his rights.

Criminal law deals with crimes while constitutional law covers matters involving the rights of citizens as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution. E.) However. therefore. Once a person has taken an oath or made a promise to tell the truth and does not.BT20403/Topic1 (1) Justice (cont. In this way. E. constitutional law. which says that when a decision maker makes a decision. However. under the law. such a person can be punished for the crime of perjury. not absolute freedom. which states that when a person is accused of any wrongdoing. not everything immoral is against the law. Morality is a value concept which states that some things are right or wrong. lying is immoral but we can't go around suing or jailing everyone who lies. 19 BT20403/Topic1 20 (2) Morality (cont. Public law is concerned with any matter which involves the relations of citizens with the state or government and between states themselves (public international law).) (2) Natural justice (cont. under the law. good or bad based on our religious beliefs. However. we are not totally free to do whatever we wish. administrative law and international law. Law can be classified into public and private law. he must be given an opportunity to give his side of the story. refers to the idea of limited freedom. BT20403/Topic1 Public Law Constitutional Law Criminal Contract Tort Law Private Law Trust Property Company Law Law Family Law Administrative Law International Law Sale of Goods Hire Partnership Insurance Agency Purchase BT20403/Topic1 23 24 4 .g. Freedom refers to a person’s right to do what he wishes. he must not be biased. The case of a witness who lies while giving evidence at a trial. a person who lies in certain situations can be punished.g. Areas of law that deal with the state and its relationship with others are criminal law. Legal freedom. E. The right to a hearing or audi alteram partem. 21 BT20403/Topic1 22 CLASSIFICATIONS OF LAW Law CONT. BT20403/Topic1 (3) Freedom A good law protects the rights and freedoms of people. we can say that the law reflects morality. we say that stealing is a crime because we recognize that it is immoral to steal.) This legal principle consists of 2 legal rules namely: The rule against bias or nemo judex in res sua. BT20403/Topic1 (2) Morality A good law must have some moral element in it.g.

The standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities. an act can give rise to both a crime and a civil wrong. family law and law of property.BT20403/Topic1 CONT. is an effective way for parties to clear up a dispute. The law of torts deals with legal responsibilities the law places on individuals in society. Negotiations – sometimes called “table-talk”. The State has responsibility to prove that the defendant committed the crime. Furthermore. they may be sued. whipping loss or harm suffered. The standard or amount of proof required is beyond reasonable doubt. parties are free to give and take on issues they disagree on until they can reach a consensus or middle ground. Mediation – a 3rd party (mediator) helps the parties to the dispute to negotiate an agreement. fine. which is a criminal offence if he caused the victim to suffer injuries or even the death of anyone involved in the accident.) CRIMINAL LAW Sources Burden and standard of proof Statute-based Penal Code Burden of proof is on the state or PP. 27 BT20403/Topic1 28 SETTLING DISPUTES There are many ways of settling disputes which can either involve the law or not. the victim will lodge a police report on the accident. Verdict – guilty or not guilty CIVIL LAW Case law or judicial decisions Burden of proof is on the plaintiff. Private or civil law. Ultimately. Remedy – compensation for death sentence. law of torts or civil wrongs. in an accident. Use of force – in the past. 29 BT20403/Topic1 BT20403/Topic1 30 5 . it is the parties to the dispute who will make the decision to settle and the terms of the settlement. including: Self help – this method involves a person settling a dispute on his own initiative using whatever resources available . The person who caused the accident may be prosecuted for dangerous driving. BT20403/Topic1 CONT. is concerned with the rights and liabilities of individual parties or citizens among themselves. By negotiation on agreed facts. this was a common way to settle a dispute based on the belief that “might is right”. If they do not live up to these responsibilities. 25 BT20403/Topic1 26 Comparison between Criminal Law and Civil Law CRIMINAL LAW Sources Aims Statute-based Penal Code Protect persons or property Suppress anti-social behavior Punish offenders The State represented by the Public Prosecutor or Attorney General PP/AG v Defendant Defendant plead guilty or not guilty Criminal jurisdiction CIVIL LAW Case law or judicial decisions Control or regulate dealings between private individuals Compensate injured party who has suffered loss or harm to person or property Individual / company or organization Plaintiff v Defendant Defendant defends against claim against him Civil jurisdiction BT20403/Topic1 (cont. In some instances. Decision – liable or not liable Who takes action Litigants/parties Pleadings Court Decision of the court Outcome of trial Punishment – imprisonment. The plaintiff who has brought the complaint or suit must prove that the defendant is liable or responsible for the plaintiff’ s harm or loss. CONT. The law of contract deals with agreements made between parties which are enforceable under the law. For example. Areas of law include the law of contract. on the other hand. the victim can also sue the wrongdoer under the tort of negligence for causing damage to his car and claim damages in compensation.

A Constitution does a number of things. It is the framework from which laws are made. Litigation – involves going to court. the 3rd party (conciliator) takes a more active role in suggesting the terms of settlement or even gives opinion on the dispute. CONT. Indians. namely: 1. impartial adjudicators of complaints about bad or maladministration in government departments and particular services in the public and private sectors. Arbitration – a 3rd party called an arbitrator settles the dispute by making a decision which binds the parties.BT20403/Topic1 CONT. including: It establishes the form of Government It details the power to make laws It divides power between the State and Federal Governments It separates powers between different bodies BT20403/Topic1 Parliament and State laws passed by the State Legislative Assemblies 4. Legislations i. mediation and adjudication in various levels through which complaints by consumers are settled. which can cost a lot of money and takes time. They do fact-finding. Federal & state subsidiary / delegated legislations made by persons or bodies under powers conferred by Acts of Parliaments or Enactments of State Assemblies. The State Constitutions 3. BT20403/Topic1 35 36 6 . Chinese and Arabs have effects on the Malaysian legal system. Local and foreign influences like the English. Any party unhappy with the decision may appeal to a higher court. respectively. The Federal Constitution 2. The main sources of Malaysian law are as follows: Historical sources Legal sources Writings and books These sources can be classified into: Written sources Unwritten sources BT20403/Topic1 SOURCES OF MALAYSIAN LAW SOURCES OF MALAYSIAN LAW Written Law Unwritten Law Islamic Law Federal Constitution State Constitution Custom English Law Judicial Precedents Legislation and Subsidiary Legislation 33 BT20403/Topic1 34 (1) Written Sources Written sources refer to law created by bodies that are authorized to pass laws.e. The judge will hear both sides of the disputes and make a binding decision based on the evidence presented in court and according to the rules of procedure. Ombudsman – are independent. Federal laws passed by the (a) Federal Constitution A Constitution can be described as the backbone of a country’s legal system. Conciliation – is similar to mediation but here. Dutch. 31 BT20403/Topic1 BT20403/Topic1 32 SOURCES OF MALAYSIAN LAW The Malaysian legal system reflects its social and political history. It is a formal process and the arbitrator is a person who has special knowledge of the dispute. Portugese.

126(2) of the Securities Industry Act and s. Repco Holdings Bhd v Public Prosecutor [1997] 3 MLJ 681 The court declared both s. Separation of powers allows a system of checks and balances to take place so that one arm or body of power can check the other in such a way that there is a balance or peace in society. 159 and Art. Enactments refer to those laws enacted by the State legislative assembly as the law-making body whereas. be void. Legislation refers to Statutes or Acts (made or enacted by Parliament as the law-making body). Art. 39(2) of the Securities Commission Act to be unconstitutional. 3 arms or bodies of power: Legislative power _ the power to make laws Executive power – the power to govern and enforce the law to ensure that it is implemented and followed Judicial power – the power to interpret the law made by the Parliament and to settle any disputes about the law. Cont. BT20403/Topic1 41 BT20403/Topic1 42 7 . Cont.. 161E of the Malaysian Federal Constitution contains provisions to allow the Constitution to be amended with the condition of two thirds’ (2/3) majority in both houses of Parliament (the Senate or “Dewan Negara” and the House of Representatives or “Dewan Rakyat” agreeing to the amendment. It is an important source of laws because it allows law reform to take place. and that codification and consolidation can easily be carried out... Art. 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution.. null and void as they wholly contravene Art. R Rethana v The Government of Malaysia and Anor [1988] 1 MLJ 133 BT20403/Topic1 39 BT20403/Topic1 40 Cont.. ordinances refer to those laws made prior Independence Day in 1957. to the extent of the inconsistency.BT20403/Topic1 Cont. 4(1) of the Malaysian Federal Constitution provides that: This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall. (b) Legislation The most common source of laws today. Legislation can also be called enactments or ordinances. BT20403/Topic1 37 BT20403/Topic1 38 Cont. The doctrine of Separation of Powers reflects the view “absolute power corrupts absolutely” by Lord John Acton in 1887.

Common law includes rules of equity which are rules developed to counter harshness of the law – based on principles of fairness and justice. they may find that the law as it is does not cover this particular situation. statutory bodies. When they do this. it may not be clear if the Act applies to a particular case. The meaning given to the words in the statute adds to the law. when judges make a decision in a case. BT20403/Topic1 Cont. district councils. principles of English law so far as they were suitable to local conditions. This type of law is received and applied in the Malaysian legal system because of the application of the Civil Law Act 1956 which came into force on 1 April 1972. notification or other instrument made under any Act. Case law arises in 2 ways: judicial precedent and statutory interpretation. English common law and rules of equity i. 47 BT20403/Topic1 BT20403/Topic1 48 8 .BT20403/Topic1 (c) Delegated Legislation Delegated legislation or subsidiary legislation (sometimes is referred to as by-laws) refers to a law made or passed by a body or agency other than the Parliament or state legislative assembly (e. regulation order. Sometimes. (i) Judicial precedent When a judge makes a decision. (2) Unwritten Sources The unwritten sources of law refer to laws which are not created by Parliament or found in the constitution. (b) Common Law /Principles of English Law Common law refers to law which resulted from the decisions of judges and legal rules and principles of law which were applied in common throughout the UK. his decision will be followed by other judges in similar cases later (this is known as binding judicial precedent or doctrine of stare decisis). such laws may be in writing but are not enacted by the legislature. Sarawak. However. 45 BT20403/Topic1 46 Cont. In this way. judges may have to apply the law to a new situation in a case. Ministers. Islamic laws /Syariah applicable to Muslims. Therefore.e. and Customary law (customary law practised in Sabah. The term ‘common law’ is also used to describe judge-made law.g. They will then have to create new legal reasoning or principles to apply in this case (this is known as ratio decidendi) and this will then become the precedent for future cases involving the same issues although the facts may be different. Adat Temenggung & Adat Perpatih BT20403/Topic1 44 in West Malaysia. The judge will then interpret the Act in question. (ii) Statutory interpretation When judges interpret statutes. the judge is said to be creating law. Enactment or Ordinance and having legislative effect. Subsidiary legislation is defined in Interpretation Act 1967 to include any proclamation. the decision may add to the law as found in legislation.). rule. etc. The decision may explain the application of the statutes in a clear way or it may even explain what the words in the statute mean. Thus. e.g.: Judicial decisions by the highest court (“judge made laws or common law”). BT20403/Topic1 43 (a) Judicial Decisions (Judge-Made Laws) Judges play an important role in interpreting the law and settling disputes. they may have to give meaning to the words in a statute because it is not clearly stated in the statute/Act itself.

Sabah and Sarawak. a 2/3rd majority of the members of the Parliament must agree to it. It outlines the fundamental rights of citizens (known as fundamental liberties or human rights or freedom of people). The FC has the following features.3(1)(b) provides that English common law and rules of equity is applicable in Sabah until 1 December 1951. S. on the other hand. it cannot easily be changed or amended. As the Federal Constitution is really a backbone of our legal system.e: It lays down the powers of the Federal and State Government. English principles continue to apply in Malaysia. 51 BT20403/Topic1 52 FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT The Federal Constitution (FC) is the legal framework of the country which tells us what type of government we have.3(1)(c) provides that English common law and rules of equity is applicable in Sarawak 12 December 1949. s. It follows the principles of the separation of powers. With regards to commercial law. and the local law takes precedence over English law (only applicable whenever there is lacunae in the law). S. can be amended by a simple majority. and Adat Temenggung & Adat Perpatih in West Malaysia. The application of the law of England throughout Malaysia is subject to 2 limitations: It is applied only in the absence of local statutes on a particular subject. Customs of the local people of a country or their personal law usually concern family. Acts or statutes. Customary laws .BT20403/Topic1 Cont. 53 BT20403/Topic1 54 9 . BT20403/Topic1 CONT.5 of the Civil Law Act. BT20403/Topic1 (c) Customs A custom is a practice or a way of doing things among a certain group of people which has become accepted by the law and that is why it is considered to be a source of law. its powers and the rights of the citizens.3 and s. English commercial law is applicable to date. S. As a result of the s. BT20403/Topic1 Cont. Malacca. i.3(1)(a) of the CLA provides that English common law and rules of equity is applicable in Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia) until 7 April 1956. The FC is divided into different parts and each part of the FC contain articles. land and religious matters. This is why in order to change or amend the FC. Only that part of English law which is suited to local circumstances will be applied.5(1) provides that English law in commercial matters is applicable in Peninsular Malaysia (except Penang and Malacca) until 7 April 1956. and 49 BT20403/Topic1 50 Cont. S.Native laws in Sabah and Sarawak.5(2) provides that for Penang.

concern the Ruler. BT20403/Topic1 COURTS & THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE The Federal Constitution provides that power is exercised by the legislative. It can interpret the Federal and State Constitutions. the Legislative Assembly. the executive and the judiciary. 55 BT20403/Topic1 56 CONT.BT20403/Topic1 CONT. It can even pronounce on the legality of legislative or executive acts. 3. the 2 High Courts – the High Court of Malaya and the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak. which State Constitutions deal with. the Court of Appeal. 57 BT20403/Topic1 58 (1) SUPERIOR COURTS The Superior Courts of Malaysia comprises the Federal Court. To give its opinion on any question referred to it by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong (YDPA) concerning the effect of any provision of the Constitution which has already arisen or appears likely to arise – Government of Malaysia v Government of Kelantan [1968] 1 MLJ 129. 128(1) and (2) of the Federal Constitution. Thus the hierarchy of the courts would explain how precedents work. It has jurisdiction in matters including: 1. the President of the Court of Appeal. The Federal Court. It is part of the judicial system. Lower courts. the Chief Judge of Malaya and the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. To determine constitutional questions which have arisen in the proceedings of the High Court but referred to the Federal Court for a decision. namely the Sessions Court. BT20403/Topic1 59 60 10 . The general rule about the doctrine of precedents is that the decisions of the higher court bind the lower courts and some courts are bound by their own decisions. such as the Magistrate Court and the Sessions Court. the Legislature. It consists of the Chief Justice. the Magistrate’s Court. The judiciary has the power to hear and determine civil and criminal maters. 2. or if it is inconsistent with the FC. and Subordinate courts. BT20403/Topic1 CONT. Some of the matters. BT20403/Topic1 CONT. then only the Parliament can remove this inconsistency. financial provisions and the amendment of the Constitution.This is the highest court of the land and the highest court of appeal in Malaysia. namely the Federal Court. and other court(s). The hierarchy of the courts is actually a description of the court structure from the lowest court to the highest court. The judicial power of Malaysia is vested in the: Superior courts. Proceeding of the Federal Court must be heard by 3 or such greater uneven number of judges. To exercise exclusive original jurisdiction on those matters conferred to it under Art. 4. To hear civil and criminal appeals from decisions of the COA. The head of the judiciary is the Chief Justice. Each state has its own constitution regulating the government of that State. the Court of Appeal (COA). the High Courts. The provisions of the State Constitution have been clearly outlined and enumerated in the 8th Schedule to the Federal Constitution. the Court of Appeal (COA) and the High Court are the superior courts and are therefore in the higher hierarchy than the subordinate or lower courts. the Executive Council. Federal Court . If any provision is missing in a State Constitution. are bound by the decisions of the superior courts.

Generally the following matters cannot be dealt with by a Sessions Court – injunctions. the High Court can hear appeals in civil and criminal matters from the Subordinate Courts. BT20403/Topic1 CONT. no case may be brought to the High Court unless the offender has been committed for a trial after the preliminary hearing in the Magistrate Court. and is headed by a Sessions Court judge.000. appellate and supervisory jurisdiction. The COA hears appeals from decisions of the High Court: • Any appeal against a High Court decision on criminal matters.BT20403/Topic1 CONT. bankruptcy etc. Its criminal jurisdiction includes all offences other than those involving death sentences. It may also remove the case to the High Court or give such directives to the subordinate courts as it thinks necessary. A 1st-class magistrate is legally qualified and must be a member of the Judicial and Legal Service of the Federation while a 2nd-class magistrate is usually a civil servant and court official who is not legally qualified. 63 BT20403/Topic1 In its appellate jurisdiction. and (c) In West Malaysia only. The High Courts . The High Court is the court of original. It is heard by 3 judges or such greater uneven number of judges. Sessions Courts – The Sessions Court is the highest of the subordinate courts.35(1) of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.e. • Any civil appeal which involves a claim of at least RM250. the Magistrate’s Courts and the Penghulu’s Courts. A subordinate court is any one of those courts established under s. BT20403/Topic1 3. In its original jurisdiction. Magistrate’s Courts – The Magistrate’s Court is presided over by a magistrate (1st-class or 2ndclass magistrate). It is also empowered to hear civil cases where the amount or the subject matter in dispute does not exceed RM250. A 1st-class magistrate can hear matters in which the maximum term of imprisonment provided by law does not exceed 10 years imprisonment or which are punishable with fine only and offences under s. it has no power to re-open. The Court of Appeal – The COA constitutes the President of the Court of Appeal and up to 10 COA judges. divorce. 1. re-hear nor to reexamine its decision for whatever purpose – Lye Thai Sang & Anor v Faber Merlin SB [1986] BT20403/Topic1 CONT. In the interest of justice and when it appears desirable. probate.392 and s. It can hear any matter which can be heard by a lower court and where the cause of action arose in Malaysia or where a party has a place of business here. (b) Magistrate’s Courts. 2. Under s. one in Peninsular Malaysia and one in Sabah and Sarawak. the High Court may call for the records of any proceedings of the subordinate courts. i. In criminal matters. however.3(2) of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 – There shall be established the following subordinate courts for the administration of civil and criminal law: (a) Sessions Courts. Cases involving sum larger than this must be tried in the High Court. BT20403/Topic1 61 62 CONT. it has no power to review the case. Where an appeal has been heard and disposed of by the COA. Penghulu’s Court. specific performance or rescission of contracts. it has unlimited civil and criminal power.The High Court has 2 Chief Justices. 65 BT20403/Topic1 66 11 . the High Court has been conferred general supervisory and revisionary jurisdiction over all subordinate courts.000. (2) SUBORDINATE COURTS The subordinate courts in Malaysia consist of the Sessions Courts. 64 CONT.457 of the Penal Code.

CONT.000. Penghulu’s Court – In Peninsular Malaysia.97 CA) BT20403/Topic1 CONT. This panel consists of a group representing employers and a group representing workmen. 2. It is headed by a Penghulu (the head of the village). 72 BT20403/Topic1 71 BT20403/Topic1 12 . For civil matters. The criminal jurisdiction of the Penghulu Court is restricted to the trial of offences of a minor nature. S.91-s. A 2nd-class magistrate can hear criminal matters for which the term of imprisonment is not more than 12 months or only a fine. Syariah Courts – There is a parallel system of state Syariah Courts which has limited jurisdiction over matters of state Islamic (Syariah) law (Art.g. His jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings is limited to cases involving amounts of up to RM50.2 CA defines a ‘child’ as a person under the age of 18 years. The Industrial Court. appointed by a state government for a particular province (mukim). it can hear cases where the amount or the value of the subject matter in dispute does not exceed RM25.000. Native Courts – The Native Court is peculiar only to Sabah and Sarawak. those relating to religious or matrimonial matters. The Syariah Court can generally only pass sentences of not more than 3 years imprisonment. The power of the Penghulu is exercised informally. The court is closed to members of the public in order to protect the young offender from publicity. employees and trade unions. The Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only over matters involving Muslims. CONT. In civil matters. a fine of up to RM5. The Industrial Courts – In addition to the ordinary law courts. A 1st-class magistrate has jurisdiction to hear both criminal and civil appeals from any decision of the Penghulu’s Court. Native Courts are empowered to try: 1. e. If the offender is found guilty. It exercises jurisdiction over matters affecting ‘native customs’ where the parties are natives. BT20403/Topic1 BT20403/Topic1 67 68 CONT. and/or up to 6 strokes of the cane. deals primarily with trade disputes and therefore has jurisdiction over matters concerning employers. civil cases (excluding land) where the value of the subject matter does not exceed RM50 and all parties are subject to the same native system of personal law. cases arising from breach of native law or custom. cases involving land where there is no titled issued by the Land Office. there are also other tribunals such as the Industrial Court which exercise judicial or quasi-judicial functions. the child will be detained in prison at the pleasure of the YDPA (s. constituted under the Industrial Relations Act 1967. it can try original actions or suits not exceeding RM3 thousand. 69 BT20403/Topic1 70 CONT. he or she may be sent to one of the approved institutions or schools where he or she is given corrective education. It consists of a President appointed by the YDPA and a panel of persons appointed by the Minister of Law. Court for Children (formely known as the Juvenile Courts) – The Court for Children was established under the Child Act 2001.121(1A) of the Federal Constitution). 3. this is the lowest subordinate court. For capital offences.BT20403/Topic1 CONT. which are listed in “Penghulu’s Kuasa” and are punishable with a fine of not more than RM25.

by an agreement between Her Majesty The Queen and His Majesty The YDPA. and is now the final court of appeal for Malaysia. Later.BT20403/Topic1 Hierarchy of the Courts Federal Court Previous Court System : Between 1 January 1985 and 23 June 1994 Supreme Court SUPERIOR COURTS Court of Appeal SUPERIOR COURTS High Court (Malaya) High Court (Sabah & Sarawak) Syariah Court Native Court High Court (Malaya) *Syariah Court *Court for Children *Industrial Court Sessions Court Magistrate’s Court Penghulu’s Court High Court (Sabah & Sarawak) *Syariah Court Sessions Court Magistrate’s Court *Native Court *Court for Children *Industrial Court BT20403/Topic1 Syariah Court Sessions Court Magistrate’s Court Small Claims Court Penghulu’s Court Sessions Court Magistrate’s Court Small Claims Court SUBORDINATE COURTS SUBORDINATE COURTS 73 BT20403/Topic1 74 Previous Court System : Prior 1 January 1985 Privy Council CONT. 1994. the Supreme Court was renamed the Federal Court of Malaysia effective from June 24. the Privy Council continued to function as the highest court in Malaysia. Privy Council appeals on criminal and constitutional matters were abolished on 1 January 1978. Civil appeals were abolished on 1 January 1985. Privy Council During the colonial era. and by virtue of Art. 75 BT20403/Topic1 Federal Court SUPERIOR COURTS High Court (Malaya) Syariah Court Sessions Court Magistrate’s Court Penghulu’s Court High Court (Sabah & Sarawak) Syariah Court Sessions Court Magistrate’s Court Native Court SUBORDINATE COURTS BT20403/Topic1 76 CONT. whereupon the Federal Court was renamed the "Supreme Court of Malaysia". advised by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. Upon independence in 1957. BT20403/Topic1 77 13 . 131 of the Federal Constitution. decisions of the Malayan courts could be taken on appeal to the Queenin-Council. formally advising the YDPA on the determination of appeals from the Federal Court.