In Malaysia, Magistrates are divided into:|
- First Class Magistrates; and
- Second Class Magistrates.
The Magistrates' Courts have jurisdiction to hear both criminal and civil cases. The Magistrates Court (Malay: Mahkamah Majistret) sits everyday except on public holidays.
A Magistrate for the Federal Territory is appointed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation of the Chief Judge whereas for respective States, a magistrate is appointed by the State Authority on the recommendation of the respective Chief Judges.
First Class Magistrate
First Class Magistrates are legally qualified and have greater power while Second Class Magistrates are normally appointed.
In criminal matters, Section 87 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92] provides the First Class Magistrate fairly substantial powers. A First Class Magistrate has the jurisdiction to try all offences of which -
- the maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed ten (10) years; or
- are punishable with fine only;
but may pass sentences of -
- not more than five (5) years imprisonment;
- a fine of up to RM10,000; and/or
- impose whipping up to a maximum of twelve (12) strokes of the cane.
In civil matters, a First Class Magistrate has the jurisdiction to hear all actions and suits of a civil nature where the amount in dispute or value of the subject matter does not exceed RM100,000 under Section 90 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92].
||The civil jurisdiction limit of the First Class Magistrate has been increased under Subordinate Courts (Amendment) Act 2010 (Act A1382) from the previous RM25,000. The Act came into force in March 2013.
Second Class Magistrate
A Second Class Magistrate is appointed by the State Authority in Malaysia.
A Second Magistrate has the jurisdiction to hear criminal matters of the following nature -
- where the offence is punishable by a fine only; or
- where the offence provides for a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months.
A Second Class Magistrate may pass a sentence of -
- a term of imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months;
- a fine not exceeding RM1,000; or
- any sentence combining any of the sentences above.
A Second Class Magistrate may hear a civil case where the plaintiff seeks to recover a debt or liquidated demand in money payable by the defendant, with or without interest, not exceeding RM10,000.
||The civil jurisdiction limit of the Second Class Magistrate has been increased under Subordinate Courts (Amendment) Act 2010 (Act A1382) from the previous RM3,000.
Where the amount in dispute does not exceed RM5,000, you can file your claim by submitting Form 198 to the small claims division of the Magistrates Court. The form is given free of charge but you'll have to pay a filing fee of RM10. In small claims proceedings, you may consult a lawyer but cannot be represented by a lawyer at the hearing.
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