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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. However, 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. The Federal Court hears appeals from the Court of Appeal. The
Court of Appeal hears appeals from the High Court relating to both
civil and criminal matters. The High Court have three types of
jurisdiction. For 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.

For 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. In 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.

Civil Jurisdiction in 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.
While in 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.

The Magistrates Courts deal with the vast majority of cases,


both civil and criminal, and sit in almost all major towns in Malaysia.
The Magistrates Court are divided into two class, first class and
second class. In First Class Magistrate, for the Civil Jurisdiction a First
Class Magistrate may hear a civil case when the amount in dispute
does not exceed, RM100,000. For Criminal Jurisdiction, First Class
Magistrate may hear criminal matters where the offence is
punishable by a fine only - this would cover the majority of traffic
offences or where the offence provides for a term of imprisonment
not exceeding ten years.

However, A First Class Magistrate may not impose a term of


imprisonment exceeding five (5) years, a fine exceeding RM10,000 ,
whipping exceeding twelve strokes or any sentence combining any
of the sentences above. 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.

For a Civil Jurisdiction in a Second Class Magistrate, it 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. Where the amount
claimed does not exceed RM5,000 you may wish to file your claim in
the small claims division of the Magistrates Court. If you do so
however, you must be prepared to conduct the case yourself, as
legal representation is not permitted. In CRIMINAL JURISDICTION, A
Second Magistrate may hear criminal matters where the offence is
punishable by a fine only or where the offence provides for a term of
imprisonment not exceeding twelve months.

A Second Class Magistrate may pass a sentence when a term


of imprisonment not exceeding six months, a fine not exceeding
RM1,000 or any sentence combining any of the sentences above.
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.