Magistrate Court Jurisdiction

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The Magistrates’ Courts are established under section 76 SCA 1948. They may be presided by first or second class magistrate. Both classes of magistrates are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the federal territories and by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri in the states. The first class magistrates are legally qualified and must be members of the Judicial and Legal Service of the Federation. They are appointed on the recommendation of the Chief Judge. Second class magistrates are not legally qualified; they are civil servants and court officials who do magisterial work in addition to their administrative duties. The Magistrates’ Courts have general jurisdiction to try civil and criminal cases within the local limits of jurisdiction assigned to them, or if no such local limits have been assigned, arising in any part of the local jurisdiction of the respective High Court. In addition, they may issue summons, writs, warrants or other process, and make any interlocutory or interim orders, including orders concerning adjournment, remand and bail. They may also conduct inquests or inquiries of death. The magistrates’ courts also have specific jurisdiction. This depends on the status of the magistrate. A first class magistrate has original and appellate jurisdiction. For the original jurisdiction on civil matters; under section 90 SCA 1948, a first class magistrate has jurisdiction to try all actions where the amount in dispute or value of the subject-matter does not exceed RM25 000, subject to exceptions set out in section 93(1). That section refers to sections 65(3) and (4), 66-70 and 72-4 (applicable to Sessions Courts) which apply in the same way, with modifications, to the Magistrate’s Courts. The effect is that the first class magistrate may exercise jurisdiction in actions in excess of RM25 000 if both parties agree in writing. For criminal matters, a first class magistrate may try all offences punishable with up to ten years of imprisonment or with a...
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