Court System in Malaysia

Table of Content

The High Courts in Malaysia are the third-highest courts in the hierarchy of courts, after the Federal Court and the Court of Appeal. Article 121 of the Constitution of Malaysia provides that there shall be two High Courts of coordinate jurisdiction—the High Court in Malaya and the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak (before 1994, the High Court in Borneo). Before 1969, the High Court in Singapore was also part of the Malaysian courts system (see Law of Singapore).

The High Court in Malaya has its principal registry in Kuala Lumpur, with other registries to be found in all states in peninsular Malaysia, while the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak has its principal registry in Kuching, with other registries elsewhere in Sabah and Sarawak. There are in total 22 High Court registries across all 13 states in Malaysia. [1] The two High Courts also travel on circuit to other smaller towns. The two High Courts, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court are classified as superior courts, while the Magistrates’ Courts and the Sessions Courts are classified as the subordinate courts.

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The High Courts function both as a court of original jurisdiction as well as an appellate court, and are each headed by a Chief Judge (before 1994, Chief Justice). The Chief Judges of Malaya and Sabah and Sarawak are the third and fourth highest positions in Malaysian judiciary after the Chief Justice of the Federal Court(before 1994, the Lord President of the Federal Court) and the President of the Court of Appeal. Sessions Court are similar to the former Quarter Sessions in England, the Sessions Courts have jurisdiction to try offences which are not punishable by death.

They are presided over by Sessions Court judges (formerly Sessions Court Presidents). The Sessions Courts also hear all civil matters of which the claim exceeds RM25,000 but does not exceed RM250,000, except in matters relating to motor vehicle accidents, landlord and tenant and distress, where the Sessions Courts have unlimited jurisdiction. The two High Courts in Malaysia have general supervisory and revisionary jurisdiction over all Subordinate Courts in civil and criminal matters.

The High Courts have unlimited civil jurisdiction, and generally hear actions where the claim exceeds RM250,000 other than actions involving motor vehicle accidents, landlord and tenant disputes and distress. The High Courts hear all matters relating to: the validity or dissolutions of marriage (divorce) and matrimonial causes, bankruptcy and matters relating to the winding-up of companies, guardianship or custody of children, grants of probate, wills and letters of administration of estates, injunctions, specific performance or rescissions of contracts, legitimacy of persons.

The High Courts have unlimited jurisdiction in all criminal matters other than matters involving Islamic law. The High Courts have original jurisdiction in criminal cases punishable by death. Cases are herd by a single judge in the High Court, or by a judicial commissioner. While High Court judges enjoy security of tenure, judicial commissioners are appointed for a term of two years, and do not enjoy similar protection under the constitution. An application for a judicial review applied in the court. The Federal Courts is the highest court in Malaysia.

The Federal court may hear appeals of civil decisions of the Court of Appeal where the Federal Court grants leave to do so. The Federal Court also hears Criminal appeals from the Court of Appeal, but only in respect of matters heard by the High Court in its original jurisdiction (i. e. where the case has not been appealed from the Subordinate Courts). These are the few courts in Malaysia which play an important role in keeping the country’s order. Try to imagine today’s world without courts, what will it be? Thus we as the citizen of Malaysia should appreciate every courts there is in Malaysia which maintain peace and order in the country.

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Court System in Malaysia. (2018, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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