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on 21 May 2014

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Court is the place where the judicial proceeding begin. Indeed, court makes provision of a forum to solve conflicts and enforce the law in a justice. Besides, the court is constrained to make any conclusion (Snowiss, 1990; 20).

In Malaysia, the system of court was established in year 1807; known as "First Charter of Justice". The practice of appeal should refer to the Privy Council who is responsible for advising His Majesty, The King of Malaysia after Independent Day (James, 2002: 71). On 1 January 1985, the Privy Council has been abolished and has been changed into Federal Court as the highest court in Malaysia.

The highest and last court for appeal
Backlog of cases
Pending cases
To compare the three types of courts in Malaysia; Federal, Magistrates' and Syariah Court
To identify the weakness and the appropriate solution for each court
To explain the roles for each court
This comparison is important to Malaysian because it tell people about the roles of Federal, Magistrates' and Syariah Court in Malaysia. Each court has their authority and limit for each case. This study will help people in solving their problem related with jurisdiction.
Federal Court is the highest court (also known as 'Superior Courts'). It is the final appellate court in Malaysia.
Federal Court consists of 11 Federal Court judges, headed by the Chief Justice (as the president of the court). All the judges of the Federal Court are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, after consultation with the Conference of Rulers.In fact, Yang di-Pertuan Agong may appoint any person who holding high judicial office in Malaysia to be an additional judge of the Federal Court on the advice of the Chief Justice.

• To hear civil and criminal appeals from decisions of the Court of Appeal and a High Court.
• It can also pronounce on the validity of any federal or state legislation as being in excess of powers.
• To determine constitution questions which have arisen in the proceedings of the High Court but is referred to the Federal court for a decision.

Magistrates' Court is located under the Subordinate Court. Magistrates' Court hears both criminal and civil cases.
Categories of the magistrates :
First Class Magistrates' Court
Second Class Magistrates' Court

First Class Magistrates' Court
Criminal cases :
A First Class Magistrate has jurisdiction to try all offenses for which the maximum term does not exceed 10 years imprisonment or with fine of RM10 000 only. The maximum sentence can pass is 5 years imprisonment, a fine of RM10,000, whipping of 12 strokes or a combination.

Civil cases :
A First Class Magistrate has the jurisdiction to hear all actions and suits of a civil nature where the amount in claim does not exceed RM25,000.00

Second Class Magistrates' Court
Criminal Cases:
A Second Class Magistrates' Court has jurisdiction to try all offenses for which the maximum term of imprisonment does not exceed 1 year, in cases of robbery, lurking, house trespass and house breaking or in all cases with fine only. The maximum sentence can pass is 6 months imprisonment, a fine of RM1,000 or a combination of any these punishment.

Civil Cases:
A Second Class Magistrates' Court involve when the plaintiff seeks recovery of a debt or liquidated demand where the amount claimed does not exceed RM3,000.
Establishment of Syariah Court in a state is based on the constitution which allows the states to execute Islamic law.
Syariah Court can be divided into three :
Syariah Subordinate Court
Syariah High Court
Syariah Court of Appeal

Syariah Subordinate Court
To discuss the cases provided by the enactment, hear and decide the cases and prepare the reports of court decision

Syariah High Court
Hears appeals from the Syariah Subordinate Court and it may revise decisions of the lower court
Any claim above RM50,000
Discussing the cases assigned to them, issue an order for civil cases and criminal, solve and verify cases of inheritance, manage appeal cases, and prepare the journal of the court to publish for some states

Syariah Court of Appeal
Hears appeals from the Syariah High Court
Reduce the punishment
Similarities between Federal, Magistrates' and Syariah Court
Federal and Magistrates' Court
Both court hear criminal and civil cases
Federal and Syariah Court
Jurisdiction deal cases related to Islamic Law
Required to refer to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong before approving a sentence
Magistrates' and Syariah Court
Most of the lawyers are practicing in Civil Court
Penalties that will be imposed on criminals are a few fine or imprisonment in any period
Type of sentence imposed are jail and whipping
Differences between Federal, Magistrates' and Syariah Court
Federal and Magistrates' Court
Appeal of Civil Cases
Federal Court :
Only allowed the cases affect the validity of the provision of the constitution
Magistrates' Court :
The cases are involving the agreement of the parties that the claim does not exceed RM 25, 000 except with the approval of the Court of Appeal.

Appeal of Criminal Cases
Federal Cases:
Issued a warrant for the arrest of the accused, if before that he released by the Court of Appeal.
Magistrates' Court :
It has power to approve or reject the case for appeal one more time. While deciding the appeal, the punishment by High Court continued, except the death penalty.
Federal and Syariah Court
Jurisdiction of the court

Federal Court :
To determine the legality of the law enacted in parliament and state assemblies (DUN). Besides that, it repeal the law that against.
Syariah Court :
Does not have authority and the power of the Syariah Court is under enactment state.

Magistrates' and Syariah Court

Magistrates' Court :
The power for the crime punishable with not more than 10 years or which are punishable with fine only, but can impose a penalty of not more than five years imprisonment, a fine of up to RM10, 000 or caning sentence 12 times.
Syariah Court :
Only has jurisdiction over matters involving Muslims, and generally cannot impose more than three years imprisonment, a fine of RM5,000, and punishment of caning more than six times.
Benefit of Federal, Magistrates' and Syariah Court
Benefit of Federal Court
To ensure that the local community is involved in the running of the legal system.
They are not remunerated
Benefit of Magistrates' Court
Has the First Class Magistrates which is most of them having an excellent background studies
The cost to unpaid lay magistrates is cheap
Has inconsistency in sentencing
Benefit of Syariah Court
According to Noordeen, Syariah Court is more focuses on the human welfare rather than human liberty (Noordeen, 1998: 9)
The decision and rules that are be referred to be based on Al- Quran and As-Sunnah
In a real life, the Syariah’s limits provide the safeguards of the right of the human beings.
Disadvantages of Federal, Magistrates' and Syariah Court
Disadvantages of Federal Court
Lead to duplication of government and inefficient, over – lapping or contradictory policies in different part of the country
It can cause the inequality between the states, create unhealthy competition and rivalry between them
It can lead to over – government that will result to corruption.
Disadvantages of Magistrates' Court
Indictment bias
Inconsistency in sentencing
Clerk (tambah)
Disadvantages of Syariah Court
Lay magistrates
Offenses involving only persons Islam
Limited jurisdiction

Malaysia provides the hierarchy of courts ;
Superior Court : Federal, Court of Appeal and High Court
Subordinate Court : Sessions, Magistrates' and Penghulu Court
Special Court : Syariah Court

It is recommended that court should manage time wisely in order to solve the problem.
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