The High Court in Sabah and Sarawak
The High Court in Sabah and Sarawak
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Under Article 161 of the federal Constitution:-


161.  Use of English and of native languages in States of Sabah and Sarawak.

(1) No Act of Parliament terminating or restricting the use of the English language for any of the purposes mentioned in Clauses (2) to (5) of Article 152 shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language in any case mentioned in Clause (2) of this Article until ten years after Malaysia Day.

(2) Clause (1) applies -

(a) to the use of the English language in either House of Parliament by a member for or from the State of Sabah or Sarawak; and

(b) to the use of the English language for proceedings in the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak or in a subordinate court in the state of Sabah or Sarawak, or for such proceedings in the Federal Court or the Court of Appeal as are mentioned in Clause (4); and

(c) to the use of the English language in the State of Sabah or Sarawak in the Legislative Assembly or for other official purposes (including the official purposes of the Federal Government).

(3) Without prejudice to Clause (1), no such Act of Parliament as is there mentioned shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language for proceedings in the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak or for such proceedings in the Federal Court or the Court of Appeals as are mentioned in Clause (4), until the Act or the relevant provision of its has been approved by enactments of the Legislatures of the States of Sabah and Sarawak; and no such Act shall come into operation as regards the use of the English language in the State of Sabah or Sarawak in any other case mentioned in paragraph (b) or (c) of Clause (2), until the Act or the relevant provision of it has been approved by an enactment of the Legislature of that State.

(4) The proceedings in the Federal Court or the Court of Appeal referred to in Clauses (2) and (3) are any proceedings on appeal from the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak or a judge thereof, and any proceedings under Clause (2) of Article 128 for the determination of a question which has arisen in proceedings before the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak or a subordinate court in the State of Sabah or Sarawak.

(5) Notwithstanding anything in Article 152, in the State of Sabah or Sarawak a native language in current use in the State may be used in native courts or for any code of native law and custom, and in the case of Sarawak, until otherwise provided by enactment of the Legislature, may be used by a member addressing the Legislative Assembly or any committee thereof.

 

High Court - Criminal Cases


Generally, the High Court has the jurisdiction to hear cases which carry the death penalty. Specifically, the jurisdiction of the High Court in criminal cases is provided in sections 22, 26, 31 and 35 of the Courts of Judicature Act, 1964. 


High Court - Civil Cases


The High Court has the jurisdiction to hear civil cases in respect of :

(a) divorce and matrimonial causes;

(b) admiralty;

(c) bankruptcy and company cases;

(d) appointment and control of guardians of infants and their property;

(e) appointment and control of guardians of disabled persons and their estate; and

(f) grant of probates of wills and letters of administration.

Specifically, the jurisdiction of the High Court in civil cases is provided in sections 23, 24, 24A, 25 (including Schedule), 25A, 28, 30, 32, 33 and 35 of the Courts of Judicature Act, 1964 . 

 

Sessions and Magistrates' courts

Under Section 111 of the Subordinate Courts Act 1948 :-

111.  Amendment of laws

Where in any written law passed or made before the commencement of the extension of this Act to Sabah and Sarawak, there is, in relation to Sabah or Sarawak -


(a) a reference to the Court of a Magistrate of the First Class or a District Court there shall be substituted a reference to a Sessions Court;


(b) a reference to the Court of -
(i) a Magistrate of the Second Class, a Police Court or a Court of Small Causes;
(ii) a Magistrate of the Third Class or a Petty Court,
there shall be substituted a reference to a Magistrates' Court;


(c) a reference to a Stipendiary Magistrate or a Magistrate of the First Class there shall be substituted a reference to a Sessions Court Judge; and

(d) a reference to a Magistrate of the Second Class or a Magistrate of the Third Class there shall be substituted a reference to a Second Class Magistrate.


Sessions Court - Criminal Cases


The Sessions Court has the jurisdiction to try all offences other than offences punishable with death. 


Sessions Court - Civil Cases


The Sessions Court has unlimited jurisdiction to hear:

(a) running down cases, landlord and tenant, and distress;

(b) to try other suits where the amount in dispute does not exceed RM250,000.00; and

(c) with the consent of the parties involved, to try cases exceeding RM250,000.00 but the award is limited to the statutory limit of RM250,000.00 only. 


Magistrates' Court - Criminal Cases


A First Class Magistrate Court has the jurisdiction to try all offences where the maximum term of imprisonment provided by law does not exceed 10 years or which are punishable with fine only or cases involving robbery and housebreaking by night.

Generally, a First Class Magistrate may pass any sentence allowed by law not exceeding :

(a) 5 years imprisonment;

(b) a fine of RM10,000.00;

(c) whipping up to 12 strokes; or

(d) any sentence combining any of the sentence aforesaid.

However, in some cases e.g under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Betting Act 1953 the Magistrate may impose a fine higher than RM10,000.00. 


Magistrates' Court - Civil Cases


A First Class Magistrate Court has the jurisdiction to try all actions and suits of a civil nature where the amount in dispute does not exceed RM25,000.00.