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You are here : Home About Us Judicial Hierarchy

Judicial Hierarchy

The Supreme Court

The SupremeĀ  Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka skill be the highest and final superior Court of record.

The Supreme Court shall consist of the Chief Justice and of not less than six and not more than ten other judges.

Powers of the Supreme Court
  • Appellate Jurisdiction
    Final and conclusive civil and criminal appellate jurisdiction on appeals from the Court of Appeal or any Court of first Instance.
  • Constitutional Jurisdiction
    Interpretation of the Constitution and to determine whether any bills an inconsistent with the Constitution.
  • Protection of fundamental rights.
    Freedom of thought, freedom of Conscience, Freedom from torture, Right to equality, Freedom from arbitrary arrest, Freedom from arbitrary detention, Freedom of speech, assembly and association.
  • Jurisdiction in respect of the breaches of Parliamentary privileges.
    Presidential election-Jurisdiction in election petitions; the enrolment, suspension and removal of attorneys-at-law.


The Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal consists of the President of the Court of Appeal and not less than six and not more than eleven other Judges.

Next to the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal shall be the highest and final superior court of record.

Powers of the Court of Appeal
  • Appellate Jurisdiction
    Appellate Jurisdiction over the courts of first instance and other judicial institutions.
  • Jurisdiction for correction
    Jurisdiction for correction of all errors in fact or in law.
  • Cognizance of matters and things of Courts of First Instance May call for case records and examine them.
  • Powers to impose punishment for contempt of Court.
    Imprisonment for a period not less than 08 years can be imposed.
  • Power to issue writs
    Writs of certiorari , procedendo, mandamus and qvo warranto can be issued.


The High Court

The High Court is the only Court which exercise the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance and the appellate jurisdiction.

It exercises the civil jurisdiction as well as the criminal jurisdiction.

The High Court of Civil Appeal

The High Court of Civil Appeal has been established with the objective of expediting the civil appeals in District Courts Appeals in District Courts are heard by the High Court of Civil Appeal.

High Court And The Provincial High Court

High Court cases can be heard in the presence of a Judge of the High Court or a Jury. The High Court take cognizance of cases to be heard on submission of indictments submitted by the Attorney General.

Commercial High Court

Commercial High Court is empowered to hear cases involving commercial transactions worth of which exceeds three million rupees . Jurisdiction over the cases falling under the Intellectual Property Act.


The District Court

Cases over which the District Court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of, within its jurisdiction, all civil income and insolvency testamentary cases marital disputes, family jurisdiction over divorce and nullity of marriage cases, guardianship of idiots and persons of unsoundĀ  mind and guardianship of their property, testamentary cases of person deceased without leaving a last will, care of minors and their property.


The Magistrate Court

  • Jurisdiction over the criminal cases filed under the Penal Code and other laws within its jurisdiction.
  • First mortem examinations.
  • Post mortem examinations.
  • Issue of Warrants of Judicial orders to arrest and produce suspected persons.
  • Issue of search warrants.
  • Ordering persons to enter into bonds of good conduct and preventive jurisdiction on public nuisance.


The Primary Court

  • The Primary Court exercise civil and criminal jurisdiction within its area or jurisdiction.
  • The value of claim for compensation should not exceed Rs. 1500/-.
  • Cases under Section 66 of the Primary Court Procedure Act.
  • Hearing of land disputes involving threat to or breach of peace.


The Judicial Service Commission

The Judicial Service Commission consists of the Chief Justice and two other Supreme Court Judges appointed by the President.

The chief Justice shall be the Ex Officio Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission.

The Secretary shall not hold the office of the Judge of the Court of First Instance on completion of his tenure of office as Secretary.

The Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission shall be a Senior Judge of the Court of First Instance.

Interference in the Indicial Service Commission work is an offence punishable with a fine of Rs. 1500/- and imprisonment after hearing the case in the presence of the High Court without a jury.


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 June 2011 06:50