Find Legal expertise in Malawi

Legal System

Malawi’s legal system is based on English Common Law. The judiciary consists of local courts and a local appeals court in every district. The higher tiers consist of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the High Court, and the magistrates’ courts. The High Court is presided over by a chief justice and four puisne judges, appointed by the president. It has judicial authority over all civil and criminal cases, and sits in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba. Magistrates’ courts are located in cities and towns in 24 districts throughout the country. Appeals from the magistrates’ courts are heard by the High Court and those arising from the High Court by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Blantyre.

Malawi used to also possess a traditional court system, introduced in 1964. However, it was suspended by the attorney general in 1993 in response to a report by the National Consultative Council on problems in the workings of the traditional court system. The system was subsequently abolished by the 1995 constitution, after the arrival of the multi-party democracy in 1994. The constitution of the same year contains a bill of human rights (although it retains the death penalty) and protects the independence of the judiciary. The subsequent lack of legal structure in rural areas is a barrier to an accessible justice system. In response to this problem, in 2009 the Special Law Commission was appointed to review the old Traditional Courts Act. A proposal arose from the report to reintroduce a traditional court system, which the commission argued would provide a point of access to justice in rural areas. The local courts will be subordinate to the High Courts, differing from the parallel functions of the traditional courts in the past. Malawi has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction.

Legal organisations in Malawi
A.R. Osman & Co.
Alide & Co.
Banda, Makiyi, Kanyenda & Associates
Bazuka & Co.
Beal, Dalken & Associates
Bernhard & Harris
Chibambo & Co.
Chirambo & Chirambo
Chirwa and Co.
Chisanga & Tomoka
David Bandawe & Associates
Denning Chambers
Destone & Co.
Dr Michael C. Mtambo
Edgar & David Lawyers
Edward & Co.
Eenest Edwards Law Consultants
Esmlk Associates
Golden & Law
Hara & Associates
Hara and Associates
Juris Chambers
Kalekeni Kaphale Lawyers
Knight & Knight
Lawbide Associates
Lexon & Lord
Makhalira & Co.
Malawi Law Society
Mbendera & Nkhono Associates
Mhango & Co.
MTM Law Chambers
Nampota & Co.
Nyirenda & Msisha
Racane Associates
Raymond & Hughes
Robert & George
Sacranie, Gow & Co.
Salimu & Associates
Savjani & Co.
Tembenu, Masumbu & Company
Veritas Chambers
W.B. Mpando Law Offices
Wilson & Morgan