How does the court system of Malaysia work?

The hierarchy of courts of Malaysia starts with the Magistrates Court as the first level followed by the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Malaysia, which is the highest level. The High Court, Court of Appeal and the Federal Court are superior courts, while the Magistrates Court and the Sessions Court are subordinate courts. There are also various other courts outside of the hierarchy. There are the Penghulu's Courts, the Syariah Courts and the Native Courts. A court, which is paralleled in jurisdiction with the Magistrates' Court, is the Juvenile Court. Generally, there are two types of trials, namely criminal and civil. (a) The Federal Court The Federal Court hears appeals from the Court of Appeal. | (b) The Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court relating to both civil and criminal matters. | (c) The High Court A) CIVIL JURISDICTION B) CRIMINAL C) APPELLATE JURISDICTION JURISDICTION The High Court has jurisdiction to try all civil The High Court may The High Court may matters but generally hear all matters but hear appeals from the confines itself to matters generally confines itself Magistrates and on which the Magistrates to offences on which the Sessions Courts in both and Sessions Courts Magistrates and civil and criminal have no jurisdiction. Sessions Courts have matters. These include matters no jurisdiction, for relating to divorce and instance, offences which matrimonial cases, carry the death penalty. appointment of guardians of infants, the granting of probate of wills and testaments and letters of administration of the estate of deceased persons, bankruptcy and other civil claims where the amount in dispute exceeds RM250,000. ««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««.

y y where the offence is punishable by a fine only . disputes between landlord those punishable by death. | (e) The Magistrates Court The Magistrates Courts deal with the vast majority of cases. Superior court Federal Court The Federal Court is the highest court in Malaysia. where the offence provides for a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) years.000.000. both civil and criminal. RM25. A) CIVIL JURISDICTION (B) CRIMINAL JURISDICTION A Magistrates Court may hear a civil A Magistrates Court may hear case when the amount in dispute criminal matters of the following does not exceed. impose a term of imprisonment exceeding five (5) years. and distress actions. A Magistrate may not. The Sessions Court may also hear other matters where the amount in dispute exceeds RM25.this would cover the majority of traffic offences.000 you may wish to file your claim in the small claims division of the Magistrates Court. however.! (d) The Sessions Court (A) CIVIL JURISDICTION (B) CRIMINAL JURISDICTION A Sessions Court may hear any civil A Sessions Court has jurisdiction to matter involving motor vehicle try all criminal offences EXCEPT accidents.000 but does not exceed RM150. and sit in almost all major towns in Malaysia. nature: Where the amount claimed does not exceed RM5. If you do so however. . you must be prepared to conduct the case yourself. The Federal Court may hear appeals of civil decisions of the Court of Appeal where the Federal Court grants leave to do so. and tenant. as legal representation is not permitted.

other than actions involving motor vehicle accidents.The Court of Appeal also hears appeals of criminal decisions of the High Court. The High Courts have unlimited civil jurisdiction.000. landlord and tenant disputes and distress. legitimacy of persons. guardianship or custody of children. wills and letters of administration of estates. and do not enjoy similar protection under the Constitution. The High Courts hear all matters relating to:       the validity or dissolution of marriage (divorce) and matrimonial causes. The High Courts have unlimited jurisdiction in all criminal matters other than matters involving Islamic law. but only in respect of matters heard by the High Court in its original jurisdiction (i. the judgment or order relates to costs only. The High Courts have original jurisdiction in criminal cases punishable by death.e. It is the court of final jurisdiction for cases which began in any subordinate courts. grants of probate.The Federal Court also hears criminal appeals from the Court of Appeal. Cases are heard by a single judge in the High Court. Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal generally hears all civil appeals against decisions of the High Courts except where against judgment or orders made by consent. and the appeal is against a decision of a judge in chambers on an interpleader summons on undisputed facts. the leave of the Court of Appeal must first be obtained.000. High Courts The two High Courts in Malaysia have general supervisory and revisionary jurisdiction over all the Subordinate Courts. where the case has not been appealed from the Subordinate Courts). and generally hear actions where the claim exceeds RM250. In cases where the claim is less than RM250. . An application for a judicial review is applied in this court. specific performance or rescissions of contracts. injunctions. bankruptcy and matters relating to the winding-up of companies. While High Court judges enjoy security of tenure. and jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Subordinate Courts in civil and criminal matters. judicial commissioners are appointed for a term of two years. or by a judicial commissioner.

The Magistrates' Courts also hear appeals from the Penghulu's Courts.000 in dispute. has the power to hear civil matters of which the claim does not exceed RM50. In Sabah and Sarawak. They are presided over by Sessions Court judges (formerly Sessions Court Presidents).000. where the Sessions Courts have unlimited jurisdiction. . but there are instead Native Courts having jurisdiction on matters of native law and custom. the former being legally qualified and having greater powers.000 but does not exceed RM250. In criminal matters. or Malay village head. a fine of up to RM10. Sessions Courts Somewhat like the former Quarter Sessions in England. First Class Magistrates' Courts generally have power to try all offences of which the maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed 10 years or which are punishable with fine only. the Sessions Courts have jurisdiction to try offences which are not punishable by death. there are no Penghulus' Courts. Second Class Magistrates are now not normally appointed. The Magistrates Courts hear all civil matters with less than RM25. The Penghulu Court's criminal jurisdiction is limited to offences of a minor nature charged against a person of Asian race which is specially enumerated in his warrant. Magistrates Courts Magistrates are divided into First Class and Second Class Magistrates.000. which can be punished with a fine not exceeding RM50. Other courts The court of a penghulu. but may pass sentences of not more than five years imprisonment.Subordinate courts The Magistrates' Courts and Sessions Courts in Malaysia have jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters. The Sessions Courts also hear all civil matters of which the claim exceeds RM25. where the parties are of an Asian race and speak and understand the Malay language. and/or up to twelve strokes of the cane. landlord and tenant and distress. except in matters relating to motor vehicle accidents.

and/or up to six strokes of the cane. a fine of up to RM5. which are heard in High Courts instead. and the Yang di-Pertuan Besar. the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. and other Federal Court judges. The appointment of Sessions Court judges is governed by Section 59 of the Subordinate Court Act 1948. A Ruler includes the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King). They are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong upon the advise of the respective Chief Judges. The Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only over matters involving Muslims. the Chief Judge of Malaya. the Yang di-Pertua Negeri. previously known as the Juvenile Court. As for the appointment of High Court judges. i.: the head of states of Malaysia and its component states.[4] The appointment of Court of Appeal judges is also governed by the same procedures with the additional requirement for the consultation of the President of the Court of Appeal. A child is defined as any person below the age of 18. similar procedures are prescribed with the additional requirement of consultation with the respective Chief Judges. the sultans of monarchical states in Malaysia. similar procedure is taken with the additional requirement of consultation with the Chief Justice.The Court for Children. Section 78 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 provides that the appointment of magistrates are done by the respective state government upon the advise of the . The Special Court was established in 1993 to hear cases of offences or wrongdoings made by a Ruler. Prior to this. Cases for children are governed by the Child Act 2001. a Ruler was immune from any proceedings brought against them in their personal capacity. As for the appointment of the President of the Court of Appeal. Appointment of judges The appointment of the Chief Justice is governed by Article 122B of the Constitution of Malaysia whereby the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) appoints the Chief Justice on the advise of thePrime Minister of Malaysia after consulting the Conference of Rulers.000.[3] Syariah Courts There is a parallel system of state Syariah Courts which has limited jurisdiction over matters of state Islamic (sharia) law. hears cases involving minors except cases carrying the death penalty.e. and can generally only pass sentences of not more than three years imprisonment.

.respective Chief Judges. except for magistrates in the Federal Territory. where thy are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong upon the advise of the Chief Judge.

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