The jurisdiction and powers of court under the Malaysian hierarchy of courts are contained principally in the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 (Act 91) for the superior courts that is, the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Courts, and in the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 (Act 92) for the subordinate courts that is the Sessions, Magistrate’s and Penghulu’s Courts.
2.0 MALAYSIAN JUDICIAL STRUCTURE
Malaysian judicial structure can be divided into 2 section which are : 1) Superior Courts
Federal Court, Special Court, Court of Appeal and High Court
2) Subordinate Courts
Sessions Court, Magistrates' Court and Court for Children
“Promotion of judges, wherever such a system exists, should be based on objective factors, in particular ability, integrity and experience.” — Clause 13 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary — 3.0 THE SUPERIOR COURTS
3.1 THE FEDERAL COURT
The Federal Court is the highest judicial authority in the country. It was established pursuant to Article 121(2) of the Federal Constitution. Its decision binds all the courts below. Prior to 1st January 1985, the superior courts system in Malaysia was three-tiered, namely : 1) The Privy Council
2) The Supreme Court
3) The High Court Malaya and the High Court Borneo.
The Privy Council was the highest court of appeal for Malaysia until 31st December 1984. On 1st January 1985, all appeals from Malaysia to the Privy Council were abolished. In its place, the Supreme Court was established making it the final court of appeal in the country. The abolishment of appeals to the Privy Council resulted in a change from the three-tiered system of superior courts to a two-tiered system, which was the Supreme Court and the two (2) High Courts. In 1994, a significant change took place in the Judiciary when Parliament amended the Federal Constitution. With the amendment, the Court of Appeal was established. The Supreme Court was renamed the Federal Court. As a consequence, the three-tiered system of the superior courts was restored. The Federal Court is headed by the Chief Justice. Prior to the amendment the post was known as the Lord President.
According to Article 122(1) of the Federal Constitution, the Federal Court shall consist of the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal, the two Chief Judges of the two High Courts and seven other judges.
Appointment of Judges
Article 122B of the Federal Constitution provides for the appointment of the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judges of the High Courts and the other judges of the Federal Court by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, after consulting the Conference of Rulers. Before tendering his advice, the Prime Minister shall, except for the appointment of the Chief Justice, consult the Chief Justice. Appointment of Additional Judges Article 122(1A) of the Federal Constitution, allows the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, acting on the advice of the Chief Justice, to appoint any person who has held high judicial office in Malaysia to be an additional judge of the Federal Court. This appointment may be for such purposes or for such period as may be determined by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Every proceeding in the Federal Court is according to section 74 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964, heard and disposed off by three judges or such greater uneven number of judges as the Chief Justice may in any particular case determine. In the absence of the Chief Justice the most senior member of the Court shall preside. Article 122(2) of the Federal Constitution provides that the Chief Justice, if he considers that the interests of justice so require, may nominate a judge of the Court of Appeal other than the President of the Court of Appeal to sit as a judge in the Federal Court.
The Court sits...