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How are judges appointed in Malaysia?

Superior Court Level

The Superior Courts in Malaysia consist of the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Courts.

The Chief Justice (Malay: Ketua Hakim Negara) is the head of the Malaysian judiciary and also the head of the Federal Court, the highest court of Malaysia.

The appointment of judges of Superior Court level is being set out under Article 122B of the the Federal Constitution.

His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints:

  • the Chief Justice of the Federal Court;
  • the President of Court of Appeal;
  • the two Chief Judges of the High Courts; and
  • judges of the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court,
on the advice of the Prime Minister after consulting the Conference of Rulers.

The Prime Minister shall consult the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and the two Chief Judges, before he tenders his advice in appointing a judge to the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Courts.

A person is qualified for appointment as a judge of the Superior Court if he is a citizen and for the ten (10) years preceding his appointment he has been an advocate of those courts or a member of the judicial and legal service of the Federation or of the legal service of a State.

A judge shall not be a member of any political party or participate in any political activity.

If a judge was practising as an advocate and solicitor prior to his appointment, he shall, on his appointment, cease to have any connection with the firm.

All judges of the Superior Courts retire at the age of 66.

Federal Court

Under Article 122(1A) of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may also appoint a person who has held high judicial office in Malaysia to be additional judge of the Federal Court. This must be on the advice of the Chief Justice.

If the interest of justice so require, the Chief Justice may also nominate a judge of the Court of Appeal to sit as a judge of the Federal Court.

High Court

Article 122AB of the Federal Constitution provides for the appointment of a judicial commissioner for the despatch of business of the High Courts. A judicial commissioner who is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister after consulting the Chief Justice shall have the same powers and enjoy the same immunities as if he had been a judge of the High Court.

Subordinate Court Level

The appointment of judges of Subordinate Court (Malay: Mahkamah Rendah) level is being set out under the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92].

Sessions Court

A Sessions Court is presided by a Sessions Court judge. A Sessions Court Judge (Malay: Hakim Mahkamah Sesyen) must be a member of the Judicial and Legal Service of the Federation.

A Sessions Court judge is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation of the respective Chief Judge.

Magistrates Court

To qualify as a First Class Magistrate (Malay: Majistret Kelas Pertama), he must be a member of the Judicial and Legal Service of the Federation.

In Malaysia, a First Class Magistrate for the Federal Territory is appointed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation of the Chief Judge whereas in each state, a First Class Magistrate is appointed by the State Authority on the recommendation of the respective Chief Judge. This is provided for under Section 78 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92].

Section 79 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92] provides for the appointment of Second Class Magistrates. The State Authority may appoint any fit and proper person to be a Second Class Magistrate (Malay: Majistret Kelas Kedua) in and for the state. In the Federal Territory, a Second Class Magistrate is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

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Knowledge Base ID :   1001
Last Reviewed :   December 26, 2015
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