Subordinate Courts

he Federal Court (cont’d) Normally cases before the Federal Court of Malaysia are heard and disposed of by a full Court comprising of three judges. However, in certain special cases, for example one which involves interpretation of the Constitution or a principle of law of major public importance, the Chief Justice may convene a bigger panel of five or even seven judges to deal with the matter. Superior Courts 1. The Federal Court (cont’d) The Federal Court has jurisdiction in matters including: 1) To hear civil and criminal appeals from decisions of a Court of Appeal.

This appellate function occupies the bulk of the court’s work. In civil appeals, a litigant may appeal on a point of law or upon the rejection or admission of evidence in a lower court. In criminal cases, an appeal may be made against acquittal or conviction or against sentence on a point of law or fact. Superior Courts 1. The Federal Court (cont’d) The Federal Court has jurisdiction in matters including: 2) To exercise exclusive original jurisdiction on those matters conferred on it under Article 128(1) and (2) of the Federal Constitution. It can hear disputes on any matter between any State and the Federal Government.

It can pronounce on the validity of any federal or state legislation as being in excess of powers. To determine constitutional questions which have arisen in the proceedings of the High Court but referred to the Federal Court for a decision. 3) Superior Courts 1. The Federal Court (cont’d) The Federal Court has jurisdiction in matters including: 4) To give its opinion on any question referred to it by the Yang Dipertuan Agong concerning the effect of any provision of the Constitution which has already arisen or appears likely to rise. Government of Malaysia v. Government of State of Kelantan (1968). Superior Courts 1. The Federal Court (cont’d) Government of Malaysia v. Government of State of Kelantan (1968).

The opinion of the Federal Court was sought as to whether the provision of Article 11(2) and Article 97(2) of the Federal Constitution were violated by certain clauses of an agreement made between the State Govt. of Kelantan and the Timbermine Industrial Corporation Limited whereby the company was granted a permit to log, extract timber and forest products, to establish factories, and to prospect and operate mines in Kelantan.

The Federal Court answered both questions in the negative, i. e. there was no violation of the provisions of the Federal Constitution. Superior Courts 2. The Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal constitutes the President of the Court of Appeal and up to ten Court of Appeal Judges. The Court of Appeal is heard by three judges or such greater uneven number of judges. Has the jurisdiction :- 1) 2) To hear and determine any appeal against any High Court decision on criminal matters.

To hear and determine civil appeals generally for cases where the amount or value of the subject-matter of the claim is at least two hundred and fifty thousand ringgit. Where an appeal has been heard and disposed of by the Court of Appeal, the said Court has no power to reopen, re-hear nor re-examine its decision for whatever purpose. Superior Courts 3. The High Courts High Court of Malaya for the states of Peninsular Malaysia High Court of Borneo for Sabah & Sarawak Each High Courts is headed by a Chief Justice It hears matters which cannot be determined in the subordinate courts

Subordinate Courts 1. The Sessions Court General jurisdiction with authority to try criminal and civil cases Its criminal jurisdiction extends to all offences other than offences punishable with death and it may impose any sentence allowed by law except sentence of death Its civil jurisdiction is to try suits where the amount in dispute or the subject-matter does not exceed RM100,000 and more, if the parties mutually consent Subordinate Courts 2. i. The Magistrates’ Court

First Class Magistrates: Possess jurisdiction to try offenses punishable with up to 10 yrs imprisonment; a fine of up to RM10,000; whipping of up to 12 strokes or anyone of the above sentences combined Second Class Magistrates: Performs minor functions as granting bail and mentioning cases & eligible to try offenses where max punishment imposed is not more than 12 months imprisonment or fine not more than RM1000. ii. Subordinate Courts 3. The Juvenile Court Jurisdiction over offenders between the age of 10 years and under 18 years.

Makes it possible to divert juvenile offenders away from the ordinary courtroom. Philosophy : “…youngsters need care and attention and juvenile offenders should be treated differently from adult ones and with compassion so that they do not grow up to be criminals. ” presided over by a First Class Magistrate with two lay advisers, one of whom should be a woman Subordinate Courts 5. The Penghulu’s Court Lowest level, informal trial Headed by the Penghulu or Headman appointed by the State Government for an administrative district (mukim).

For disputes not exceeding RM50 in value and fine not exceeding RM25 for criminal cases Special Court The Special Court was established on March 30, 1993 vide Act A848, now provided for in Article 182 of the Federal Constitution. All offences committed by the Rulers (the Rulers being the monarchical heads of the component states of the Federation of Malaysia) including His Majesty The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall be heard by the Special Court. The Special Court shall also hear all civil cases by or against them.

This Court shall be chaired by the Chief Justice of the Federal Court and he shall be assisted by four other members, namely the two Chief Judges of the respective High Courts and two other persons appointed by the Conference of Rulers who hold or have held office as a judge. Syariah Court Civil law cases among Malays or other Muslims and other indigenous peoples, adjudicated under Islamic and traditional law are tried in the Syariah Court Native Court The Native Court is peculiar only to Sabah and Sarawak.

It exercises jurisdiction over matters affecting “native customs” where the parties are natives such as Ibans, Bidayuhs, Muruts, Melanaus, Penans, Kadazans and Dusuns ( citizens and are born in Sabah and Sarawak). The Appeal System An appeal system is a necessity in the administration of justice because it provides a machinery for correcting error and thus ensuring that justice is done. Appeals from decisions of Magistrates and from Session Courts in both civil and criminal matters lie to the High Court. The Federal Court hears both civil and criminal appeals from decisions of the High Court.