The Judiciary



The Judiciary in Sarawak comprises of the High, Session & Juvenile Courts, the Sarawak Syariah Judicial Department, and the Native Court.  Sarawak’s Judiciary is headed by the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak. He oversees the administration and working of all the various courts.


 

High Court

» Criminal Cases

Generally, the High Court has the jurisdiction to hear cases which carry the death penalty.

» Civil Cases

The High Court has the jurisdiction to hear civil cases in respect of :
divorce and matrimonial causes; admiralty;

a) Bankruptcy and company cases;

b) Appointment and control of guardians of infants and their property;

c) Appointment and control of guardians of disabled persons and their estate; and

d) Grant of probates of wills and letters of administration.


 

Sessions Court

» Criminal Cases

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

» 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; and

c) with the consent of the parties involved, to try cases exceeding RM250,000 but the award is limited to the statutory limit of RM250,000 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 5 years imprisonment; a fine of RM10,000; whipping up to 12 strokes; or any sentence combining any of the sentences aforesaid.

However, in some cases such as under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Betting Act 1953 the Magistrate may impose a fine higher than RM10,000.

» 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.


» Visit the official website of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak for more information


 

The Syariah Court

The Syariah Court which came under the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, was established as a separate department in 1991.  The Syariah Courts has jurisdiction over matters of state Islamic law.   Its objective is to hear and decide on civil cases involving divorce and matrimony, civil and property claims, guardianship of infants and, inheritance.


 

The Native Court

The Native Court administers the Native Courts System and enforces Native Customs (Adat). The Native Courts Rules (1993) provides valuable standard guidelines as to the mode of instituting proceedings and the manner in which cases should be dealt with.

Sarawak’s Native Courts headquarters is based at Sri Muhibah, Jalan Taman Budaya, Kuching. A Chief Registrar who is the Chief administrator of Native Courts supervises all Registrars, who are District Officers and Sarawak Administrative Officers in charge of sub-districts.