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LAWS OF BRUNEI
No. 2 of 1963
1984 Ed. Cap. 5
3 of 1977
5 of 1978
3 of 1982
11 of 1983
REVISED EDITION 2001
(31st January 2001)
ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS
1. Short title.
3. Supreme Court.
4. Constitution of Supreme Court.
6. Divisions and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
7. Appointment of Judges.
8. Tenure of Office.
10. Oath of Office.
11. Appointment of Judicial Commissioner.
12. Rules of Court.
13. Enabling Power.
14. Appeals from the Court.
15. Sitting of Supreme Court.
JURISDICTION AND POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT
16. Civil jurisdiction of High Court.
17. Criminal Jursidiction of High Court.
18. Civil Jurisdiction of Court of Appeal.
19. Criminal Jurisdiction of Court of Appeal.
20. When civil appeal lies to Court of Appeal.
25. Decision and reasons.
26. Absence of Judge of Court of Appeal.
27. Authority of Courts.
28. (Repealed) .
29. Powers of Registrar.
30. Cheif Registrar, Deputy Cheif Registrar, Senior Registrars and Registrars.
31. Subordinate officiers.
33. Protection of judicial and other officers.
SUPREME COURT ACT
An Act to provide for the establishment of a Supreme Court in and forBrunei Darussalam and to provide for the hearing of appeals from suchCourt
Commencement: 16th September 1963
1. This Act may be cited as the Supreme Court Act.
2. In this Act —
“Court” means a Court established by this Act;
“Registrar” means the Chief Registrar, Deputy Chief Registrar,Senior Registrar and Registrar of the Supreme Court;
“Director” means the Director of Financial Services;
“Judge” means a Judge of the Supreme Court and includes thePresident of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Justice and a Commissionerof the Supreme Court;
“Rules of Court” means rules of court made under this Act andincludes forms.
3. There shall be a Supreme Court in Brunei Darussalam with suchjurisdiction as is conferred by this Act.
Constitution of the Supreme Court.
4. The Supreme Court shall consist of the President, the ChiefJustice, the Judges and the Judicial Commissioners of the Supreme Court.
5. The Supreme Court shall have and use as occasion may require a sealof such nature and patent as the Chief Justice may, by notification in the Gazette , prescribe.
Divisions and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
6. (1) The Supreme Court shall be a Court of Record and shallconsist of —
(a) the High Court which shall exercise original and appellatecriminal and civil jurisdiction; and
(b) the Court of Appeal which shall exercise appellate criminal andcivil jurisdiction.
(2) The Judges of the High Court shall be the Chief Justice and such numberof Judges as may be prescribed from time to time by His Majesty the Sultan andYang Di-Pertuan in Council.
(3) The Judges of the Court of Appeal shall be the President and 2 Judges.
(4) Whenever during any period, owing to illness or absence from BruneiDarussalam or any other cause, the President is unable to exercise the powers orperform the duties of his office such powers shall be had and may be exercised and such duties shall be performed by the Judge having precedence nextafter the President who is present in Brunei Darussalam and able to act duringthat period.
Appointment of Judges.
7. (1) The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by His Majesty by instrument under His Sign Manual and the State Seal.
(2) A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court unless —
(i) he is, or has been, a judge of a Court having unlimited jurisdiction incivil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a Court havingjurisdiction in appeals from any such Court; or
(ii) he is entitled to practice as an advocate in such a Court and has been entitled for not less than 7 years to practice as an advocate orsolicitor in such a Court.
Tenure of Office.
8. (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person holdingthe office of a Judge of the Supreme Court shall vacate that office on attainingthe age of 65 years or such later time as His Majesty may approve.
(2) A Judge of the Supreme Court may be removed from office only forinability to perform the functions of his office or for misbehaviour and shallnot be so removed except in accordance with this section.
(3) A Judge of the Supreme Court shall be removed from office by HisMajesty if the question of the removal of that Judge has been referred by Her Britannic Majesty at the request of His Majesty to the JudicialCommittee of Her Britannic Majesty’s Privy Council and the Judicial Committee has advised that the Judge ought to be removed from officefor inability or misbehaviour.
(4) Where His Majesty has made such request as set out insubsection (3) His Majesty may suspend a Judge for performing thefunctions of his office pending the advice of Her Britannic Majesty’sPrivy Council.
Remuneration of Judges.
9. (1) The remuneration of the Judges of the Supreme Court shall beprescribed by His Majesty in Council and such remuneration shall becharged upon the Consolidated Fund.
(2) Remuneration for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section shall include any monies which may become payable in respect of the servicesof the Judges of the Supreme Court under any agreement entered into by BruneiDarussalam for the provision of such Judges and of their services.
Oath of Office.
10. A Judge of the Supreme Court shall not enter upon the duties ofhis office unless he has taken and subscribed the oath of office in such form asmay be prescribed by His Majesty in Council.
Appointment of Judicial Commissioner.
11. (1) His Majesty may from time to time by instrument under HisSign Manual appoint a person qualified under section 7(2) of this Act to be aJudicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court.
(2) The terms of the appointment of any such Judicial Commissioner shall beset out in his Instrument of Appointment and he shall hold office for suchperiod as may be specified in that Instrument.
(3) For the duration of his appointment the provisions of subsection (1), (2), (3) and (4) of section 8 shall apply to a Judicial Commissioner appointed under this section as they apply in relation to a Judge of the Supreme Court.
(4) The provisions of section 9 of the Act shall apply to theremuneration of such Judicial Commissioner.
(5) A Judicial Commissioner appointed under this section shall have powerto act as a Judge of the Supreme Court and all things done by him in accordancewith the terms of his appointment shall have the same validity and effect as ifthey had been done by a judge and in respect thereof he shall have the samepowers and enjoy the same immunities as if he had been a judge.
(6) Section 10 of this Act shall apply to a Judicial Commissioner appointedunder this section.
Rules of Court.
12. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act the Judges of theSupreme Court may with the approval of His Majesty make Rules of Court for regulating the practice and procedure of the Supreme Court.
(2) All Laws or Rules of Court in force in Brunei Darussalam immediately before this Act came into force relating to practice and procedure in the Courts referred to in section 6(5) of this Act shall, except insofar as they may be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act or any Rules of Court made thereunder or amended, or revoked by any such Rules of Courts, apply in relation to the practice and procedure of the High Court and Court of Appeal established by this Act and for that purpose shall be construed subject to such modifications as may be necessary to bring them into conformity with the provisions of this Act.
13. His Majesty in Council may by order make such provisions as mayappear to him to be necessary or expedient —
(a) for giving effect to the provisions of this Act;
(b) for the purpose of bringing the provisions of any written law (other than the Constitution of Brunei Darussalam) into accord with the provisions of this Act or any other order made thereunder.
Appeals from the Court. [S 19/91; S 1/95]
14. (1) Subject to, and in accordance with, any Order in Council orany other law or rule for the time being in force relating to appeals from theCourt, an appeal in any civil cause or matter shall, with the leave of theCourt, lie from the Court to His Majesty and shall be referred by His Majesty tothe Judicial Committee of Her Britannic Majesty’s Privy Council.
(2) Notwithstanding any Order in Council or any other law or rule for thetime being in force relating to appeal from the Court, no appeal in any criminalcause or matter shall lie from the Court to His Majesty.
Sitting of Supreme Court. [S 23/91; S 11/93]
15. (1) The Chief Justice may appoint such places as he thinks fit as Court houses for the Supreme Court.
(2) Any place in which the Supreme Court is held is deemed to be an openCourt to which the public generally may have access:
Provided that —
(a) the Supreme Court shall have power to hear anyproceedings or any part thereof in camera if the Court is satisfied that it isexpedient in the interests of justice, public security or propriety or for othersufficient reason so to do;
(b) the Supreme Court shall ordinarily exclude a witness until he hasgiven evidence in proceedings where the Court is exercising a criminaljurisdiction.
(3) The Supreme Court may at any time order that no person shall publishthe name, address or photograph of any witness in any proceedings or anyevidence or any other thing liable to lead to the identification of any suchwitness; and any person who acts in contravention of any such order shall,notwithstanding any other written law, be liable to a fine of $5,000 and toimprisonment for one year or both.
JURISDICTION AND POWERS OF THE SUPREME COURT
Civil Jurisdiction of High Court.
16. (1) The civil jurisdiction of the High Court shall consist of—
(a) original jurisdiction and authority of a like nature and extent tothat held and exercised by the Chancery, Family and Queen’s BenchDivisions of the High Court in England; and
(b) such other jurisdiction, whether original or appellate, as may beconferred upon it by this or any other written law.
Criminal Jurisdiction of High Court.
17. The criminal jurisdiction of the High Court shall consist of suchjurisdiction, whether original or appellate, as may be conferred upon it by thisor any other written law.
Civil Jurisdiction of Court of Appeal.
18. The civil jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal shall consist of—
(a) appeals from a judgment or order of the High Court in a civilcause or matter; and
(b) such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by this or anyother written law.
Criminal jurisdiction of Court of Appeal.
19. The criminal jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal shall consist of—
(a) appeals from the High Court; and
(c) such other jurisdiction as may be conferred upon it by this or anyother written law.
When civil appeal lies to Court of Appeal.
20. (1) Subject to subsection (2), an appeal shall lie as of rightto the Court of Appeal from every judgment or order of the High Court in a civilcause or matter.
(2) No such appeal shall lie —
(a) from any order allowing an extension of time for appealing againsta judgment or order; or
(b) from any judgment or order expressed to be final by any law;or
(c) from any order made with consent of the parties thereto; or
(d) from any order relating only to costs; or
(e) without leave of the High Court or Court of Appeal, if the amountor value of the subject matter of the trial does not exceed 10 thousand dollars;or
(f) without leave of the High Court or Court of Appeal, from anyinterlocutory order of judgment.
(3) Any reference in this section to the High Court shall include areference to any other Court, person or tribunal from which appeal lies to theCourt of Appeal.
Decision and reasons.
25. (1) The High Court and the Court of Appeal, as the case may be,shall pronounce a decision at the conclusion of the hearing or at some timethereafter.
(2) Such court may given reasons for its decision, if it so wishes, at theconclusion of the hearing or at any time thereafter.
(3) The decision, and reasons if any, may be given orally or inwriting.
(4) Such decision, and reasons if any, may be sent to the parties and itshall not be necessary for them to appeal in person or by counsel.
Absence of judge of Court of Appeal.
26. (1) If at any time before delivery of a decision, or of thereasons if any therefor, a Judge of the Court of Appeal is unable, for anyreason, to attend the proceedings or otherwise exercise his functions as aJudge, the hearing of the appeal shall continue, if the parties consent.
(2) In such an event, the appeal shall be decided in accordance with theopinion of a majority of the remaining judges. If there is no majority, thedecision appealed against shall stand.
Authority of Courts.
27. For the purposes of and incidental to the hearing and determination of any appeal, the High Court and Court of Appeal, as the case may be, shall have the powers and jurisdiction of the Court, person or tribunal from which or whom the appeal was brought, in addition to any powers which may be conferred upon it by this or any written law.
Powers of Registrar.
29. (1) In addition to such powers and duties as may by this or anyother written law be conferred or imposed upon him, the Registrar, wheneverthere is no Judge present in Brunei Darussalam or no Judge present and able toexercise his functions as a Judge, shall have and may exercise all the powers ofthe Court or a Judge under this and any other written law.
(2) The Registrar may also exercise such powers and perform such duties asa re exercised and discharged by a Master or like officer of the Supreme Courtin England, subject to the provisions of any written law.
[S 85/00] Chief Registrar, Deputy Chief Registrar, SeniorRegistrars and Registrars.
30. (1) His Majesty may appoint a Chief Registrar, a Deputy Chief Registrar, Senior Registrars and Registrars for the Supreme Court.
(2) The Chief Registrar, Deputy Chief Registrar, Senior Registrars and Registrars shall be ex-officio commissioners for oaths and notaries public.
31. There shall be attached to the Supreme Court such interpreters,clerks, bailiffs, process-servers and other officers as, from time to time,appear to the Chief Justice to be necessary for the administration of justiceand the due execution of all powers and duties which are vested in the SupremeCourt.
32. Notwithstanding any other written law, where any contempt is committed in the face of the Supreme Court, the court may at any time before rising on the same day, take cognizance of the offence, record the facts constituting the offence and the statement, if any, made by the offender and sentence the offender to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment not exceeding one year or to both:
Provided that the court may, in its discretion —
(a) discharge the offender or remit the punishment on hismaking an apology to the satisfaction of the court;
(b) in lieu of taking cognizance of the offence, authorise aprosecution.
Protection of judicial and other officers.
33. (1) A judicial officier shall not be liable to the sued in anycourt for any act done by him in the discharge of his judicial duty, whether ornot within the limits of his jurisdiction, provided that he at the time in goodfaith believed himself to have jurisdication to do that act.
(2) No officer of the Supreme Court or other person charged with the duty of executing any writ, summons, warrant, order, notice or othermandatory process of the Supreme Court shall be liable to be sued for theexecution of or attempting to execute such writ, summons, warrant, order, noticeor other mandatory process, or in respect of any damage caused to any propertyin effecting or attempting to effect execution, unless he knowingly acted inexcess of the authority conferred upon him by such writ, summons, warrant,order, notice or other mandatory process in question, and he shall not be deemedto have acted knowingly in excess of his authority merely by reason of theexistence of a dispute as to the ownership of any property seized under any writor order or execution.