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What are the jurisdictions of the Sessions Court? What power does the Sessions Court have?

The Sessions Court of Malaysia has jurisdiction to try all offences other than offences punishable by death penalty. Its jurisdiction is wider than the Magistrates Court.

A Sessions Court (Malay: Mahkamah Sesyen) is presided by a Sessions Court Judge (Malay: Hakim Mahkamah Sesyen). A Sessions Court Judge is appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation of the respective Chief Judges.

The Sessions Court sits everyday except on public holidays.

Criminal Jurisdiction

It is under the Section 64 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92] that imposes a limit on the powers of a Sessions Judge by precluding him from imposing the death sentence.

Except for the sentence of death, a Sessions Court can pass any sentence including natural life sentence.

Civil Jurisdiction

Section 65 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 [Act 92] provides the Sessions Court:

  • unlimited jurisdiction to try all actions and suits of a civil nature in respect of motor vehicle accidents, landlords and tenants and distress;
  • jurisdiction to try all actions and suits of a civil nature where the amount in dispute or the value of the subject matter does not exceed RM1,000,000; and
  • 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.

However, there are exceptions to the above. The Sessions Court has no jurisdiction in actions, suits or proceedings:

  • relating to immovable property;
  • for accounts;
  • for declaration of decrees;
  • for the issue and revocation of grants of representation of the estates of deceased persons or the administration or distribution thereof;
  • wherein the legitimacy of any person is in question;
  • wherein the guardianship or custody of infants is in question; and
  • wherein the validity or dissolution of any marriage is in question.

These are all within the jurisdictions of the High Court.

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 came into force in March 2013.

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 :   1004
Last Reviewed :   December 26, 2015
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