Judiciary System in Malaysia

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THE SUPERIOR COURTS 1. The Federal Court
The Apex 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,

The Privy Council
The Supreme Court
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
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Civil Appeals

Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 provides that an appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal may be made to the Federal Court with with the leave of the Federal Court. Leave is only granted if–

(a) the decision of the Court of Appeal is in respect of any civil cause or matter decided by the High Court in exercise of its original jurisdiction where it involves a question of general principle of law decided for the first time or a question of importance upon which further argument and a decision of the Federal Court would be to public advantage; or

(b) the decision of the Court of Appeal is as to the effect of any provision of the Federal Constitution including the validity of any written law relating to any such provision.

(section 96(a) and (b) Courts of Judicature Act 1964).


The Federal Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to determine–

(a) any question whether a law made by Parliament or by the Legislature of a State is invalid on the ground that it makes provision with respect to a matter with respect to which Parliament or, the Legislature of the
State has no power to make laws; and

(b) disputes on any other question between States or between the Federation and any State.

(Article 128(1) of the Federal Constitution).


The referral jurisdiction of the Federal Court is provided for in Article 128(2) of the Federal Constitution which
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