JUDICATURE ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

CHAPTER I

COURTS AND THEIR TERRITORIAL LIMITS

2. The Courts of First Instance.

3. Division of Sri Lanka for judicial purposes.

CHAPTER II

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE COURTS OF FIRST INSTANCE

4. Composition of the High Court.

5. District Courts, Small Claims Courts and Magistrates’ Courts.

5A. Judicial day.

5B. Appointment of the Master.

5C. Appointment of the recorder.

6. Appointment retirement of Judges.

7. Salaries of the Judges of the High Court.

8. Appointment of additional Judges.

CHAPTER III

THE HIGH COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA

9. Criminal jurisdiction.

10. Sentence.

11. Trial by Jury.

12. Trials at Bar.

13. Admiralty jurisdiction.

14. Right of appeal in criminal cases.

15. Right of the Attorney-General to appeal in criminal cases.

16. Right of party aggrieved to appeal in criminal cases.

17. Sittings of the High Court.

18. Contempt of High Court.

CHAPTER IV

DISTRICT COURTS

19. Jurisdiction of District Courts.

19A. Civil jurisdiction.

20. Custody of persons and estates of idiots, persons of unsound mind.

21. Testamentary Jurisdiction.

22. Transfer of Testamentary cases.

23. Appeal.

CHAPTER V

SMALL CLAIMS COURTS

24. Jurisdiction of Small Claims Courts.

25. Costs.

26. Appeal.

27. Where defence or claim in reconvention is beyond jurisdiction of court.

28. Judge of Small Claims Court to execute judgments in appeal.

29. Where value of action is beyond jurisdiction of court.

30. Amicable settlement.

CHAPTER VI

MAGISTRATES’ COURTS

30. Powers and jurisdiction.

31. Right of appeal.

CHAPTER VII

[Repealed]

32. Repealed.

33. Repealed.

34. Repealed.

35. Repealed.

36. Repealed.

CHAPTER VIII

GENERAL PROVISIONS

37. Right of appeal to the Supreme Court.

38. Courts of First Instance to execute judgments in appeal.

39. Objection to jurisdiction.

40. Attorneys-at-law.

41. Right of representation.

42. Refusal to admit, suspension and removal of Attorney-at-law.

43. Inquiry by disciplinary committee into alleged misconduct of Attorney-at-law.

44. Disciplinary Committees.

45. Justices of the Peace and Unofficial Magistrates.

46. Transfer of cases.

47. Power of Attorney-General to decide court or place at which inquiry or trial should be held.

48. Provision for continuing any case begun before a Judge becoming disabled.

49. Provisions for hearing of cases where Judge is a party.

50. Conviction or acquittal no bar to any civil action.

51. In what court offences declared punishable by fines or imprisonment generally may be tried.

52. Registrar and other officers of Courts of First instance.

53. Ministerial acts in absence of officers.

54. Injunctions.

55. Contempt proceedings.

56. Transitional provisions.

57. Repealed.

58. Operation of the territorial limits and the Jurisdiction of Court.

59. Court to make appropriate orders in certain matters.

60. Nomination of courts for special categories of cases.

60A. Effect of an Order under section 3.

61. Regulations.

62. Omitted.

63. Interpretation.

SCHEDULES

2 of 1978,

37 of 1979,

71 of 1981,

35 of 1983,

36 of 1983,

50 of 1985,

16 of 1989,

29 of 1991,

30 of 1991,

27 of 1998,

27 of 1999,

31 of 2007,

10 of 2010,

26 of 2017.

AN ACT to provide for the establishment and constitution of a system of courts of first instance in terms of article 105(1) of the constitution, to define the jurisdiction of and to regulate the procedure in and before such courts and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the matters aforesaid.

[Date of Commencement: 2nd July, 1979]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Judicature Act.

CHAPTER I

Courts and Their Territorial Limits

2. The Courts of First Instance.

The Courts of First Instance for the administration of justice in the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be—

(a) the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka;

(b) the District Courts;

[S 2(b) subs by s 2 of Act 16 of 1989.]

(c) the Small Claims Courts;

[S 2(c) subs by s 2 of Act 16 of 1989.]

(d) the Magistrates’ Courts;

[S 2(d) subs by s 2 of Act 16 of 1989.]

(e) …

[S 2(e) rep by s 2 of Act 18 of 1989.]

3. Division of Sri Lanka for judicial purposes.

For the purpose of the administration of justice Sri Lanka shall be divided into judicial zones, Judicial districts and Judicial divisions within such territorial limits as may in consultation with the Chief Justice and the President of the Court of Appeal from time to time be determined by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette:

Provided that the judicial zones, districts and divisions and their respective territorial limits as were in existence on the day preceding the date on which the provisions of this section are brought into operation1 shall continue to be the zones, districts and divisions and their respective territorial limits under this Act until such Order of the Minister is published in the Gazette.

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