Malaysian Legal System

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  • Topic: Common law, Law, Legal systems of the world
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  • Published : October 11, 2011
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 Classification of Law
 Sources of Malaysian Law
1. Written Law
2. Unwritten Law
 System of Precedent
 Hierarchy and Jurisdiction of Courts


 Oxford English Dictionary defined “law” as “the body of enacted or customary rules recognized by a community as binding”.  Therefore, law = a body of rules which are enforced by a State.  Aim of law = to attain justice in society. Justice is an abstract idea of right or wrong.


Classification of Law Public Law
Private Law
Constitutional Law
Criminal Law Administrative Law

Public Law

 Public Law = law which governs the relationship between individual and the State  Constitutional Law = law that contains the rights of the individual in the state. Deals with rights of citizens such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech etc.  Criminal Law = codifies various offences committed by the individual against the State.  Administrative Law = lays down the powers and duties of local authorities and provides the rules of accountability of public officials.

Private Law

 Private Law = concerned with matters that deals with the rights and duties of individuals among themselves.  Private law also known as civil law
 Private law aims at giving compensation to person injured, to enable property to be recovered from wrongdoers and to enforce obligations.

Written Law

Federal & State Constitution

Subsidiary Legislation
Sources of Malaysian Law

English Law

Islamic Law
Unwritten Law
Judicial Decisions of Superior Courts

 Sources = the legal rules that make up the law in Malaysia.

 Sources can be divided into written and unwritten law.

Written Law

The most important source of law.

Divided into 3:-
1. Federal and State Constitution
2. Legislation
3. Subsidiary Legislation

Written law … . ctd

1. Federal Constitution and State Constitution
Fed Constitution (FC) = supreme law of the land (byvirtue of Article 4 of the FC) Art. 4 states that any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this FC shall be void.

Written law …. ctd

State Constitution forms part of the written law in Malaysia. Contains provisions enumerated in the 8Scheduleto the FCth Eg- matters relating to Rulers such as appointment of MB, function as head of the religionof Islam

Written law …. ctd

2. Legislation
enacted by Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies
Legislated by Parliament at federal level and State Legislative Assemblies at state level Laws that are enacted by Parliament after 1946 but before Merdeka Day are called Ordinances, but those made after 1957 are called Act Laws made by State Legislative Assemblies are called Enactments The laws in Sabah and Sarawak are called Ordinance

Written law …. ctd

Legislation enacted by Parliament by introducing a Bill which is passed by both House of Parliament and Houseof Representative and assented by the YDPA

Written law …. ctd

3. Subsidiary Legislation
Deals with details about which legislation has neither the time nor the technical knowledge to enact laws It is needed as the legislation merely lays down the basic and main laws, leaving the details of it to the person/body with whom the legislature powers is conferred. Eg – Rules and Regulations, by-laws etc.


Unwritten law = law which is not written.
It is not being enacted by the Parliament or State Legislative Assemblies. Founded in cases decided by the courts, local customs etc. Unwritten law comprised of:-
(1) English law
(2) Customs
(3) Judicial Decisions of the Superior Courts...
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