Judicial System of Tonga

Supreme court: Supreme Court

Ministry: Justice

The Court of Appeal is presided over by the chief justice and its other members are judges from other Commonwealth countries. It is the final court of appeal for most cases. The monarch’s Privy Council hears appeals from the Land Court concerning hereditary estates and titles.

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in the more serious civil and criminal cases. The Land Court is concerned with questions relating to the ownership of land. The President of the Supreme Court is generally though not necessarily the chief justice. Litigants before the Supreme Court, in both civil and criminal cases, may opt for trial by jury although this rarely occurs. Appeals from the eight magistrates’ courts are heard in the first instance by the Supreme Court.

Judges are appointed by the monarch with the consent of the Privy Council.