Find Legal expertise in Malaysia
- Legal System
The Malaysian legal system is mostly based on the English legal system – the principle of Common Law. This operates in parallel with Sharia courts, with Islamic law applied to Muslims with regards to family law or Muslim tradition. The Federal Court is the Supreme Court; it is the final court of appeal, and it has exclusive jurisdiction in constitutional matters and in issues arising between states or between the federal government and states. High Courts are located in Peninsular Malaysia and in Sabah/Sarawak. Appeals arising from the High Courts come before the Court of Appeal.
Session courts and magistrates’ courts are located in the main cities and towns throughout the country. The session courts are presided over by a judge and have limited jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases. The magistrates’ courts also hear civil and criminal cases, with more limited jurisdiction. All judges are appointed by the head of state on the advice of the prime minister, and the magistrates by the state authority on the advice of the chief judge. There have been in recent years proposals for reform of the judicial system, in order to give it more independence from the government.
A qualified lawyer is styled advocate and solicitor. There are two jurisdictions in Malaysia – in West (Peninsular) Malaysia the profession is governed by the Legal Professions Act. All advocates and solicitors are required to have an annual certificate issued by the High Court of Malaya and an annual practicing certificate issued by the Bar Council Malaysia. The other jurisdiction is the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, where entry is regulated by the Attorney-General of the respective state, who issues annual licenses. Membership of the Sabah Law Association and the Advocates Association of Sarawak is not mandatory, unlike the Bar Council.
The Bar Council of Malaysia is the regulatory and representative body for all lawyers in the country. At present there are five public law schools that offer and run law programmes, training up qualified professionals to practise law under the Legal Profession Act (LPA) 1976. These include the University of Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, International Islamic University, Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Utara Malaysia. Such recognised degrees exempt students from the Certificate in Legal Practice, though there is debate as to whether an alternative common bar examination is more suitable. Foreign lawyers can practice in the Federal Territory of Labua without permission. Foreign lawyers can still practice in the rest of the country via a court order or special permission from the attorney general subject to seven years experience and proof that their skills are in short supply in Malaysia. In 2011, the Chambers Asia Pacific Awards shortlisted the following law firms as the best in Malaysia: Kadir Andri & Partners, Lee Hishammuddin Allen & Gledhill, Shearn Delamore & Co, Skrine Wong & Partners, Zaid Ibrahim & Co and Zul Rafique & Partners.
Information from the World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013
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Efficiency of legal framework in settling disputes
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|Legal organisations in Malaysia|
|Azman, Davidson & Co||
|Azmi & Associates||
|Jayadeep Hari & Jamil||
|Jeff Leong, Poon & Wong||
|Khaw & Partners||
|Leong Yeng Kit & Co.||
|Ramesh & Loo||
|Teh & Lee||
|Zul Rafique & Co.||