Judicial System of Malawi

Supreme court: High Court of Lesotho

Ministry: Justice, Human Rights and Correctional Service

The 1994 constitution contains a bill of human rights (although it retains the death penalty) and protects the independence of the judiciary. The High Court sits in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba, and has original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings. It is generally presided over by a single judge but for constitutional cases there are at least three judges. The Industrial Relations Court deals with labour disputes and other issues relating to employment. The magistrates’ courts have original jurisdiction to hear and determine most civil or criminal cases and are located in cities and towns throughout the country. They include the Child Justice Court, which deals with child abuse and offences committed by those under the age of 16.

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, which is the final court of appeal.