Civil Appeal Process in Malaysia
When a civil trial concludes, one or both parties involved in the lawsuit may be dissatisfied with the verdict. In such cases, the unhappy party might have the right to appeal the decision to a higher court. In this article, we provide an overview of the civil appeals process in Malaysia, including when and how to file an appeal, the circumstances under which appeals can be filed, and the crucial conditions that must be met.
Understanding Appeals in Malaysia
An appeal is a request to have a case re-examined by a higher court in the hope of reversing the initial judgment. In an appeal, the party lodging it will attempt to persuade the higher court that the previous judgment was erroneous (either wholly or partially) and that the case should result in a different outcome.
The concept of appealing court decisions stems from the legal systems of most countries, which have a hierarchical structure. In Malaysia, the Magistrate and Sessions Courts are at the base of the court system and handle the majority of civil law cases. These subordinate courts' decisions can be appealed to the High Court, then the Court of Appeal, and finally the Federal Court. However, specific and sometimes stringent conditions govern who can file an appeal, when to do so, and the proper method.
Eligibility to File an Appeal in Malaysia
Only a person interested in a civil lawsuit can file an appeal in Malaysia. This category includes:
- The plaintiff: the person who initially filed the lawsuit.
- The defendant: the person sued by the plaintiff in court.
- The appellant: the party who has already filed an appeal but remains dissatisfied and wishes to appeal to an even higher court.
- The respondent: the other party involved in a previous appeal now being taken to an even higher court by the appellant.
In addition to being an interested party in the lawsuit, other specific conditions dictate when to file an appeal. These include:
- A party can only appeal a ruling or judgment of a court of law. If the court has not yet made a decision on a matter, it cannot be appealed.
- The appeal must be filed within the legally mandated timeframe. For instance, an appeal against a High Court decision must be filed within 14 days of the decision.
- The appeal is not against the decision of setting aside Judgment in Default, dismissing the application for Summary Judgment or Striking Out.
- The appellant must follow the legal procedure, which involves filing a notice of appeal in the court that issued the judgment they intend to appeal.
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