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How does the court system of Malaysia work? Advertisement  
The hierarchy of courts of Malaysia starts with the Magistrates Court as the first level followed by the Sessions Court, 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, the Court
for Children and the Sessions Court are subordinate courts. A Magistrate's Court and a Court for Children are presided by magistrates.

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.

Penghulu's Court has been abolished by Subordinate Courts (Amendment) Act 2010 (Act A1382), which came into force in March 2013.


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.
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(b) The Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court relating to both civil and criminal matters.
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(c) The High Court

A) CIVIL JURISDICTION

The High Court has jurisdiction to try all civil matters but generally confines itself to matters on which the Magistrates and Sessions Courts have no jurisdiction. These include matters relating to divorce and matrimonial cases, 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 RM1,000,000.
B) CRIMINAL JURISDICTION

The High Court may hear all matters but generally confines itself to offences on which the Magistrates and Sessions Courts have no jurisdiction, for instance, offences which carry the death penalty.
C) APPELLATE JURISDICTION

The High Court may hear appeals from the Magistrates and Sessions Courts in both civil and criminal matters.

Amount in dispute in any civil matters must exceed RM10,000 except where it involves a question of law.
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(d) The Sessions Court

(A) CIVIL JURISDICTION

A Sessions Court may hear any civil matter involving motor vehicle accidents, disputes between landlord and tenant, and distress actions. The Sessions Court may also hear other matters where the amount in dispute does not exceed RM1,000,000.
(B) CRIMINAL JURISDICTION

A Sessions Court has jurisdiction to try all criminal offences EXCEPT those punishable by death.

The civil jurisdiction limit of the Sessions Court has been increased significantly under Subordinate Courts (Amendment) Act 2010 (Act A1382) from the previous RM250,000.

The Amendment Act also conferred the Sessions Court with jurisdiction to try all actions and suits of a civil nature for the specific performance or rescission of contracts or for cancellation or rectification of instruments.

Further, the Amendment Act empowers the Sessions Court to grant an injunction and to make a declaration, whether or not any other relief, redress or remedy is or could be claimed.



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Knowledge Base ID   :   1002
Last Review   :   February 24, 2014

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