Magistrates Act


Published: 1897-08-09

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Magistrates Act
MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 1





LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

MAGISTRATES
CHAPTER 54

MAGISTRATES
LIST OF AUTHORISED PAGES
1 - 2 LRO 1/2010
3 - 4 Original Service
5 - 6 LRO 1/2010
7 - 46 Original Service



ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.


PART I
POWERS, DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF MAGISTRATES


3. Jurisdiction of magistrates.
4. Administrator, Deputy Administrator and Assistant Administrator of the

magisterial courts.
5. Appointment of justices under warrant by the Governor-General.
6. Oaths to be taken by justices.
7. General powers of justices.
8. Preservers of the peace.
9. Justices may act for a magistrate.
10. Senior justice to preside.
11. A justice may be nominated by Governor-General to try cases singly.
12. Duty of justices to furnish returns.
13. Appointment and qualification of stipendiary and circuit magistrates.
14. Times and places for sittings of magisterial courts.
15. Jurisdiction when title to land involved.
16. Appointment of Chief Magistrate and Deputy Chief Magistrates.
17. Senior Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrates.
18. Increased civil jurisdiction of certain magistrates.
19. Circuit courts to be held.
20. Times and places for circuit courts.
21. Jurisdiction of circuit justices.
22. Powers of acting magistrate.
23. Circuit Justice’s jurisdiction in cases of title to land.
24. Appeal from original jurisdiction.
25. Removal of small causes to Supreme Court.
26. Removal of action from Supreme Court to magisterial court.
27. Performance of duties of stipendiary and circuit magistrate by others.
28. Magistrate may deliver judgment prepared by predecessor.
29. Transfer of civil proceedings.
30. Every action against a magistrate must allege that act was done maliciously.
31. Conditions under which action may be brought.

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32. Action to be brought against convicting magistrate.
33. Mandamus to magistrate refusing to act.
34. Defect in conviction not to operate against magistrate issuing warrant

of distress, etc.
35. Supreme Court may set aside proceedings in action.
36. Damages.


PART II
SUMMARY CIVIL JURISDICTION


37. Plaintiff and defendant may give evidence.
38. Fees to be taken.
39. Claims may not be split.
40. Set-off.
41. Powers of compulsion on witnesses.
42. Magistrate may order a new trial.
43. Costs.
44. Execution.
45. Judgments not to be enforced by imprisonment.
46. Except in the case of a judgment debtor on a judgment summons.
47. Procedure when the doing or abstaining from the doing of any act is

ordered.
48. The magistrate may order a penalty per diem or imprisonment.
49. Provided the imprisonment does not exceed six months, and the

penalty, $80.
50. All moneys collected to be paid to magistrate or clerk.
51. Rules.


PART III
TITLE TO LAND


52. Magisterial court has no jurisdiction where there is title to land in

dispute.
53. Nature of title claimed to be stated by the defendant; procedure.


PART IV
APPEALS


54. When an appeal lies.
55. Duty of magistrate on giving appealable decision.
56. Appeal operates as a stay.
57. Recognisance or security to be taken.
58. Transmission of appeal papers.
59. Special case.
60. Remedy if special case refused.
61. Duty of magistrate as to special case. How the parties may obtain

copies of special case.

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62. Appellant entitled to copies of evidence, etc.
63. Registrar to set appeal down for argument.
64. Appeal not a rehearing unless the court so directs.
65. Procedure on hearing of appeal on motion.
66. Court on hearing appeal on motion to decide on facts as well as law.
67. On appeal by special case court confined to facts and evidence stated

therein.
68. Powers of court on hearing appeals.
69. Costs.
70. Where appeal is abandoned court may give respondent his costs.
71. No appeal on point of form or matter of variance.
72. Court may decide on merits notwithstanding any defect in form.
73. No certiorari.
74. How costs are payable.
75. How costs are recoverable.
76. Where decision confirmed, warrant may issue as though no appeal had

been made.
77. Notice required to be served upon the parties to an appeal.


PART V
DISTRESS


78. What may not be taken.
79. Warrant, how executed.
80. Public auction after five days.
81. Sale within fourteen days.
82. Impounding goods levied on.
83. Account to be sent to magistrate of costs.
84. Costs of sale to be deducted from proceeds.
85. Warrant not to be executed if amount due and all costs be paid or

tendered.
86. Replevy.

PART VI

DESTRUCTION OF ANIMALS

87. Animals suffering to be detained.
88. Magistrate to be notified.
89. Animal may be inspected.
90. Magistrate may order destruction of animal.
91. No compensation.
92. Expenses.

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STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

PART VII
MISCELLANEOUS


93. Expenses provided for.
94. Description of property of partners, etc.
95. No objection to be allowed on point of form or variance.
96. Warrant of distress not to be impeached for want of form.
97. Power to magistrate to adjourn and remand.
98. Fees in summary proceedings.
99. Proof by declaration of service of process or of handwriting, etc.
100. Disposal of fees, fines, etc.
101. Register of court of magistrate.
102. Record of court proceedings.
103. Rules.

FIRST SCHEDULE — Magistrates’ Rules of Court 1934.
SECOND SCHEDULE — Fees in Civil Proceedings.


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LRO 1/2010 STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

CHAPTER 54

MAGISTRATES
An Act relating to Magistrates.

[Assent 30th April, 1896]
[Commencement 9th August, 1897]

1. This Act may be cited as the Magistrates Act.
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —
“adult” means a person who, in the opinion of the

magistrate before whom he is brought, is
eighteen years of age or upwards;

“child” means a person who, in the opinion of the
magistrate before whom he is brought, is under
fourteen years of age, and of sufficient age and
capacity to commit crime;

“circuit justice” means a stipendiary and circuit
magistrate or the person performing the duties
of a circuit justice when on circuit;

“civil proceedings” include all small causes as defined
by this Act, and all proceedings in relation to the


27 of 1896
34 of 1904
12 of 1909
6 of 1914
3 of 1917
24 of 1923
18 of 1924
23 of 1925
9 of 1926
11 of 1938
6 of 1940
6 of 1941
19 of 1944
27 of 1945
3 of 1947
9 of 1951
15 of 1952
48 of 1954
28 of 1955
1 of 1957
6 of 1958
7 of 1958
8 of 1961
9 of 1961
G. N. 172/1964
G. N. 187/1964
43 of 1964
46 of 1964
48 of 1964
18 of 1965
26 of 1965
32 of 1966
38 of 1968
E.L.A.O. 1974
5 of 1987
7 of 1991
13 of 1992
22 of 1994
7 of 1995
28 of 1996
35 of 2009
Short title.

Interpretation.

5 of 1987, Sch.

1 of 1957, s. 6.
35 of 2009, s. 2.

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making of an order (i) for the payment of any
sum of money declared to be a civil debt,
recoverable summarily by any Act, or (ii) for
the doing or the abstaining from the doing of
any act or thing not enforceable by fine or
imprisonment in the first instance;

“complaint” means a charge not made on oath, and
whether or not reduced into writing, and includes
information;

“conviction” means any summary conviction on a
complaint or information and includes any order
made by a magistrate on any matter brought
before him on complaint or information; and also
any other order made under the provisions of this
Act for the payment of any fine as defined by
this Act, not being a judgment in civil
proceedings;

“court” means the Supreme Court, and includes a
circuit justice on circuit;

“district” in reference to New Providence, means New
Providence and all islands and parts of islands
and cays situate and being within five leagues of
New Providence, or such other islands, parts of
islands and cays adjacent thereto as the Gover-
nor-General by Order may from time to time
declare and determine, and in reference to the
Out Islands, means a district constituted under
the provisions of the Local Government Act;

“fine” includes penalty, and also any pecuniary
forfeiture or pecuniary compensation, or any
sum of money or any costs payable under any
decision of a magistrate not being a judgment in
civil proceedings;

“goods” means any personal property which may by
law be levied on by distress or writ of execution;

“guardian” includes any person who, in the opinion
of the magistrate having cognisance of any case
in which a child or young person is concerned,
has for the time being the charge of, or control
over, such child or young person;

“imprisonment in the first instance” means imprison-
ment imposed at the time of the making of a
conviction without the option of paying a fine;

6 of 1914, s. 2.

18 of 1924, s. 2.

Ch. 37.

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“indictable offence” means any offence which is
triable only at the sessions;

“information” means a charge made on oath and
reduced into writing;

“judge” means a Justice of the Supreme Court;
“judgment” means a final decision in civil proceed-

ings, and includes an interlocutory order;
“magistrate” includes the Chief Magistrate, a Deputy

Chief Magistrate, a Senior Stipendiary and
Circuit Magistrate and a stipendiary and circuit
magistrate, a circuit justice, and a commissioner
appointed under the Local Government Act, and
also any justice or justices of the peace whilst
exercising the powers and jurisdiction of a
magistrate according to the provisions of this
Act;

“magisterial court” means a court presided over by a
magistrate;

“offence” means any contravention of any law in
force in The Bahamas which is punishable or
enforceable on a verdict of a jury or on
summary conviction by fine or imprisonment;

“parent” includes the mother of, and the putative
father of, a bastard child;

“person” includes child, young person and adult, and
also a body corporate;

“sessions” means the Supreme Court sitting to try
indictable offences;

“small cause” means —
(a) any action founded on contract where the

debt or demand or value of the thing
claimed or the rent in arrear is not more
than four hundred dollars;

(b) any action founded on tort where the
demand or damage claimed is not more
than four hundred dollars;

(c) any action, suit or proceeding for the
recovery of any amount not exceeding six
hundred dollars entered for trial on the
summary side of the Supreme Court save
and except an action, suit or proceeding


18 of 1924, s. 2;
26 of 1965, s. 2.
28 of 1996, s. 2.

Ch. 37.

18 of 1924, s. 2.

15 of 1952, s. 2;
5 of 1987, s. 2;
7 of 1958, s. 2.

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involving a question of title to land which a
magisterial court has no jurisdiction to try,
remitted for trial at a magisterial court by
the Supreme Court under the provisions of
this Act;

“solicitor” includes writer to the signet and attorney;
“statutory training school” means any reformatory,

industrial or other school established, or to be
established, under any Act for the reformation,
education and training of children and young
persons;

“warrant” includes search warrant, distress warrant
and warrant of commitment;

“young person” means a person who, in the opinion
of the magistrate before whom he is brought, is
of the age of fourteen years and under the age
of eighteen years.

PART I
POWERS, DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF

MAGISTRATES
3. (1) Each magistrate is a justice of the peace for

the whole of The Bahamas.
(2) Each magistrate has jurisdiction —
(a) to investigate all charges of indictable offences in

accordance with the provisions of the Criminal
Procedure Code Act;

(b) to exercise all powers vested in, and do all acts
authorised to be done by a justice of the peace or
two justices of the peace or by a magistrate
under any Act of the Parliament of the United
Kingdom extended to or in force within The
Bahamas:

Provided that a magistrate in an Out Island
shall forthwith on the apprehension of a person
under the Extradition Act cause such person to
be brought before, and to be further dealt with
by a magistrate at Nassau;

(c) to hear and determine in accordance with the
provisions of this Act all civil proceedings as
defined by this Act, wherein the cause of action
has arisen within, or the defendant resides
within, the magistrate’s district;

8 of 1961, s. 2.

1 of 1957, s. 6.

Jurisdiction of
magistrates.
18 of 1924, s. 3.

As to indictable
offences.
5 of 1987, Sch.

Ch. 96.

As to civil pro-
ceedings.

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(d) to hear and determine in accordance with the
provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code Act,
all and any complaints against any person being
or coming within his district concerning the
commission of any offence as regards any
matter directed or authorised by that or any other
Act to be prosecuted or dealt with summarily,
and also hear and determine any complaint
against any person within his district for the
recovery of any fine, penalty or forfeiture not
specially assigned by any law to the Supreme
Court;

(e) to hear and determine all proceedings arising
within his district relating to seizures under the
revenue laws where the value of the article seized
does not exceed forty dollars.

(3) Each magistrate has also jurisdiction, and this Act
shall accordingly apply, in relation to any matter where, by
any Act of The Bahamas or Act of the Parliament of the
United Kingdom extended or applicable to The Bahamas,
any offence is directed or authorised to be prosecuted
summarily, or any words are used in any such Act implying
that such offence is to be prosecuted summarily, or (subject
to the provisions of this Act or any such other Act as
aforesaid) —

(a) where any sum of money is directed or
authorised to be recovered summarily;

(b) where a magistrate is authorised to order or
require a person to do or abstain from doing any
act or thing other than the payment of money;

(c) where anything is declared capable of being
enforced summarily or by summary order;

(d) where any amount is declared to be recoverable
summarily as a civil debt.

(4) The jurisdiction conferred on a magistrate by this
or any other Act shall (except where otherwise prescribed by
such Act) be exercised by him solely within the limits of his
district. And for the purposes of the trial of any offence
punishable on summary conviction, the following provi-
sions shall have effect —

(a) where the offence is committed within the waters
adjoining the district of a magistrate; such
offence shall be deemed to have been committed
within the district of such magistrate;

As to summary
offences.
5 of 1987, Sch.

As to seizures
under the
revenue laws.
5 of 1987, s. 2.

Magistrates’
jurisdiction
under other Acts.

Local jurisdiction
within magister-
ial district.
9 of 1951, s. 2.

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(b) where the offence is committed on the boundary
of the districts of two or more magistrates, or
within the distance of five hundred yards of any
such boundary; or partly within the district of
one magistrate and partly within the district of
another magistrate, such offence may be dealt
with, tried and punished by any one of such
magistrates;

(c) where it is uncertain within which of two or more
adjoining districts an offence is committed, such
offence may be tried and punished by a magistrate
of any of such adjoining districts:

Provided that it shall be lawful for the Attorney-
General, if he thinks it expedient so to do, to institute, and
also issue his fiat authorising any other person to institute,
any proceedings before a magistrate in respect of a matter
which is cognisable by a magistrate in another district and
thereupon and, in the case of another person, on the
production of such fiat to the magistrate, the magistrate
shall have jurisdiction to deal with such matter as
aforesaid.

4. (1) The Governor-General, acting in accordance
with the advice of the Public Service Commission, may
appoint persons to be respectively the Administrator of the
magisterial courts, the Deputy Administrator of the
magisterial courts and the Assistant Administrator of the
magisterial courts.

(2) The Administrator shall assist the Chief Magis-
trate in the discharge of his administrative functions as
Chief Magistrate and shall have, in addition, such other
powers and authorities and perform such other functions as
shall be necessary for the due conduct and discharge of the
business of the magisterial courts and as the Chief
Magistrate shall direct.

(3) The Deputy Administrator and Assistant Admin-
istrator shall assist the Administrator in the discharge of his
functions as Administrator and may, subject to the
directions and instructions of the Administrator, during the
temporary absence of the Administrator, lawfully perform
all the functions and exercise all the powers of the
Administrator under this or any other Act.

Proviso as to At-
torney-General’s
power to transfer
proceedings to
another district.

Administrator,
Deputy Adminis-
trator and Assis-
tant Administra-
tor of the
magisterial
courts.
28 of 1996, s. 3.

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(4) There shall be attached to the office of the
Administrator, such other officers as may from time to
time be required and as may be authorised by any Act of
Parliament relating to the public service of The Bahamas.

(5) In this section, “Administrator”, “Deputy Admin-
istrator” and “Assistant Administrator” mean the persons
respectively appointed as Administrator of the magisterial
courts, Deputy Administrator of the magisterial courts and
Assistant Administrator of the magisterial courts under the
provisions of subsection (1).

Justices of the Peace
5. (1) The Governor-General may appoint by

warrant under his hand and the Public Seal any fit and
proper person to be a justice of the peace either for the
whole of The Bahamas or for any specified area or district
or districts, or for any specified period of time.

(2) Any such appointment by the Governor-General
may be made and constituted by his authorising the entry
of the name of the appointee upon the commission of the
peace or roll of justices of the peace, or made and
constituted by the Governor-General authorising the same
to be so entered as attaching virtute officii to, and in favour
of, the holder, for the time being, of any government
office.

(3) Any and every such appointment as aforesaid
shall be published in the Gazette and shall be entered by
the Minister responsible for Records on the said
commission or roll, which said commission or roll shall
continue to be retained for safe custody at the office of the
Registrar General.

(4) The Governor-General may order the name of
any justice of the peace to be removed from the said
commission or roll at any time; and upon such removal
being published in the Gazette, such person shall cease to
be a justice of the peace.

6. Any person appointed, or qualified ex officio, to
be a justice of the peace is not capable of acting as such until
he has taken the oath of allegiance and the judicial oath in
accordance with the provisions of the Official Oaths Act.

Appointment of
justices under
warrant by the
Governor-Gener-
al.
18 of 1924, s. 4;
G. N. 187/1964, s.
2.
13 of 1992, s. 2.

Or, by entries on
commission of
the peace.
E.L.A.O., 1974.

Control and
custody of roll.
G.N. 172/1964, s.
8.

Removal of name
from roll.
13 of 1992, s. 2.

Oaths to be taken
by justices.
18 of 1924, s. 5.

Ch. 31.

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7. Every justice of the peace shall, within the limits
of the area or district in respect of which he is appointed,
have the same powers as a magistrate to sign warrants for
the apprehension and commitment for safe custody of
persons charged with offences and to issue search warrants
and to take affidavits and administer oaths.

8. Every justice of the peace shall have power to
preserve the peace, to suppress riots and affrays, and to
disperse all disorderly and tumultuous assemblies; and for
any of these purposes to call in the assistance of the police
and all Her Majesty’s liege subjects who shall be bound to
obey all such lawful commands.

9. (1) Whenever any magistrate is unable from
sickness, absence or any other cause, to be present in
court, any two justices of the peace may on the request in
writing of such magistrate, sit in court in his place and
shall while so sitting have all the powers and jurisdiction
exercisable by him:

Provided that the Chief Magistrate may at any time,
whenever he shall deem it expedient, authorise any justices
of the peace so to act and assist in the place of a magistrate.

(2) Every justice of the peace so acting and assisting
as a magistrate shall be entitled to the same immunities and
protection as a magistrate is entitled to.

10. (1) In any court consisting of more than one
justice of the peace, the justice who is senior in the order of
his appointment shall preside and in the event of any
disagreement, the opinion of such senior justice shall
prevail.

(2) It shall be the duty of the presiding justice to take
the notes of the evidence in the case and to receive, collect
and dispose of all fees, fines and other payments that may be
due in respect of the case; and all proceedings within the
district with reference to an appeal against the decision in
any case at the hearing of which he shall have presided, or
with reference to anything arising out of such decision shall
be taken by or before the presiding justice.

8 of 1924, s. 6.

General powers
of justices.

Preservers of the
peace.

18 of 1924, s. 7.

Justices may act
for a magistrate.

18 of 1924, s. 8.

E.L.A.O., 1974.
28 of 1996, s. 4.

Senior justice to
preside.

18 of 1924, s. 9.

Duties of
presiding justice.

18 of 1965, Sch; 5
of 1987, Sch.

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11. It shall be lawful for the Governor-General,
acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and
Legal Service Commission, by Order to nominate any
justice of the peace, and empower him to try cases singly
within the limits of any district or area to be defined by the
Order and during the period to be specified in such Order;
and any justice of the peace so nominated and empowered
may (subject to the terms and conditions of the Order) try
cases in the same manner in all respects, and shall be
entitled to the same immunities and protection, as a
magistrate.

12. (1) The return required by section 228 of the
Criminal Procedure Code Act shall, in the case of justices,
be forwarded, through the magistrate of the district and
then through the Chief Magistrate, to the Registrar of the
Supreme Court and in addition to the particulars required
by that section, shall contain corresponding particulars of
all cases in which justices of the peace shall have sat in the
exercise of any civil jurisdiction.

(2) It shall be the duty of every magistrate to report
to the Chief Magistrate all cases in which any justice
within his district shall have failed to furnish such return
and the Chief Magistrate shall forward such report to the
Attorney-General.

Stipendiary and Circuit Magistrates
13. (1) The Governor-General acting in accordance

with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service
Commission may appoint stipendiary and circuit magis-
trates who shall hold office during pleasure. No person
shall be appointed stipendiary and circuit magistrate
unless —

(a) he is a member of at least five years standing of
the English, Irish, Scottish or Bahamas Bar, or of
the Bar of any other country of the
Commonwealth to which a member of the
Bahamas Bar is admitted without examination;
or

(b) he has been enrolled and has practised for at
least five years as a solicitor in England, Ireland
or Scotland, or in any other country of the
Commonwealth in which a member of the
Bahamas Bar is permitted to practise as a
solicitor without examination.

18 of 1924, s. 10;
E.L.A.O., 1974.

A justice may be
nominated by
Governor-Gener-
al to try cases
singly.

Duty of justices
to furnish
returns.
28 of 1996, s. 5.
Ch. 91.

Appointment
and qualification
of stipendiary
and circuit ma-
gistrates.
8 of 1961, s. 3; 43
of 1964, Third
Sch; E.L.A.O.,
1974.

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(2) Any person appointed to be a stipendiary and
circuit magistrate shall be ex officio a magistrate for the
whole of The Bahamas and shall have in each and every
district all the powers, authorities, jurisdictions, rights,
privileges, duties and liabilities conferred or imposed upon
a magistrate by any law, but may be assigned by the Chief
Magistrate to a particular district or districts and may be
transferred by the Chief Magistrate from one district to
another. Notwithstanding any such assignment a stipendi-
ary and circuit magistrate so assigned may exercise
jurisdiction in any other district or districts.

14. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 5
of the Public Holidays Act, the times for the sittings of a
magisterial court are as follows —

(a) on every day of the year except Saturdays,
Sundays and public holidays, from the hour of
nine-thirty o’clock in the morning until the hour
of five-thirty o’clock in the afternoon or until
such later hour as may be determined by the
presiding magistrate, with an interval of one
hour (for lunch) at a time determined by the
presiding magistrate; and

(b) on every Saturday except public holidays, from
the hour of ten o’clock in the morning until the
hour of three o’clock in the afternoon:

Provided that the Chief Justice may, by notice,
extend the times specified in paragraph (a) or (b), for the
sittings of any magisterial court specified in the notice.

(2) The Chief Justice may, by notice, appoint the
places for the sittings of magisterial court.

(3) Every notice given by the Chief Justice under
subsection (1) or (2) shall be published in the Gazette and
shall take effect on the publication thereof or at any other
time mentioned therein.

(4) A copy of every notice so given shall be posted
up in a conspicuous place in every magisterial court room of
the district to which it relates.

15. In addition to the original jurisdiction conferred
upon a stipendiary and circuit magistrate by this or any
other Act, a stipendiary and circuit magistrate shall also
have jurisdiction and authority to try summarily any case


Stipendiary and
circuit magistrate
to be ex officio
magistrate for
New Providence.
6 of 1914, s. 5;
32 of 1966, s. 2.
28 of 1996, s. 6.

Times and places
for sittings of
magisterial
courts.
28 of 1996, s. 7.
Ch. 36.

Jurisdiction when
title to land
involved.
6 of 1940, s. 2

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in which the title to land is involved where the value of the
land in dispute shall not exceed two hundred dollars and
nothing contained in sections 52 and 53 of this Act shall be
deemed to apply to a stipendiary and circuit magistrate
exercising jurisdiction under this section.

16. (1) The Governor-General, acting in accordance
with the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service
Commission, may appoint a Chief Magistrate and two
Deputy Chief Magistrates who shall hold office during
pleasure.

(2) No person shall be appointed as Chief Magistrate
or Deputy Chief Magistrate unless he is qualified to be
appointed as a stipendiary and circuit magistrate under
section 13 of this Act.

(3) The Chief Magistrate and each Deputy Chief
Magistrate shall be ex officio a magistrate for the whole of
The Bahamas and shall be invested with all the powers,
authorities, jurisdictions, rights, privileges, duties and
liabilities conferred or imposed upon a stipendiary and
circuit magistrate or circuit justice by this or any other Act,
but one of the Deputy Chief Magistrates shall be assigned
by the Chief Justice to Freeport.

(4) In addition to any other functions conferred upon
the Chief Magistrate by this or any other Act, the Chief
Magistrate shall be responsible for —

(a) ensuring the fair distribution of criminal and civil
cases filed in the magisterial courts;

(b) directing the assignment of criminal and civil
cases which are to be heard on appeal in the
magisterial court; and

(c) ensuring the effective and efficient performance
of administrative matters affecting the
magisterial courts.

17. The title of Senior Stipendiary and Circuit
Magistrate may be conferred upon any number of
stipendiary and circuit magistrates by the Governor-
General, by instrument under the Public Seal, acting on
the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission.

18. (1) The Chief Magistrate and a stipendiary and
circuit magistrate shall, in addition to any other jurisdic-
tion conferred upon him by this or any other Act, have
jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil cause or matter
where the amount sought to be recovered or the value of


5 of 1987, s. 2.

Appointment of
Chief Magistrate
and Deputy
Chief Magis-
trates.
28 of 1996, s. 8.

Senior Stipendi-
ary and Circuit
Magistrates.

28 of 1996, s. 9.

Increased civil
jurisdiction of
certain
magistrates.
26 of 1965, s. 3.

CH.54 – 16] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

the property in dispute does not exceed five thousand
dollars.

(2) The provisions of this Act shall apply to the
exercise by such magistrate of the jurisdiction conferred
upon him by this section in all respects as if the cause or
matter were civil proceedings within the meaning of this
Act.

19. The Circuit Justice shall hold circuit courts in the
Out Islands in every year for the hearing of appeals and for
the trial of cases to be tried by a circuit justice exercising
original jurisdiction under any Act.

20. The circuit courts shall be held at such times and
places and in such manner as the Chief Justice may direct.

21. The circuit justice shall have jurisdiction to hear
appeals in the Out Islands as hereinafter provided. And
also to hear and determine all original complaints and civil
proceedings which may be brought before him on circuit as
fully as if the same had come before him as a magistrate in
New Providence.

22. When the circuit justice is on circuit the person
acting as stipendiary and circuit magistrate may if he thinks
it expedient continue as such magistrate the hearing of and
may dispose of any complaint or claim commenced or part
heard by a stipendiary and circuit magistrate.

23. In addition to the original jurisdiction conferred
on a circuit justice by any Act the circuit justice shall also
have jurisdiction and authority to try summarily any case in
which the title to land is involved where the value of the
land in dispute shall not exceed two hundred dollars and
nothing contained in sections 52 and 53 of this Act shall be
deemed to apply to a circuit justice exercising jurisdiction
under this section.

24. Subject to section 234 of the Criminal Procedure
Code Act, an appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court in any
case in which a circuit justice exercises original jurisdiction
on circuit.

22 of 1994, s. 2.

Circuit courts to
be held.

19 of 1944, s. 2.

Times and places
for circuit courts.
6 of 1914, s. 7;
E.L.A.O., 1974.
Jurisdiction of
circuit justices.
6 of 1914, s. 15.

Powers of acting
magistrate.
6 of 1914, s. 15.

Circuit Justice’s
jurisdiction in
cases of title to
land.
6 of 1914, s. 9; 6
of 1940, s. 4; 5 of
1987, s. 2.

28 of 1996, s. 10.
Ch. 91.

Appeal from ori-
ginal jurisdiction.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 17



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25. A small cause may be removed from any
magisterial court for trial in the Supreme Court —

(1) if the Supreme Court shall, on the application of
either party, deem it desirable that the action be
tried in the Supreme Court and shall, by writ of
certiorari or otherwise, order its removal for trial
in the Supreme Court. Any order for removal may
be given upon such terms as to payment of costs,
giving security or otherwise as the Supreme Court
shall think fit to impose;

(2) in any action of contract where the plaintiff shall
claim a sum exceeding forty dollars, or in any
action of tort where the plaintiff shall claim a sum
exceeding twenty dollars, if the defendant shall
give notice that he objects to the action being
tried by the magistrate and shall give security to
be approved by the magistrate for the amount
claimed and the costs of trial in the Supreme
Court, and if the magistrate shall certify that in
his opinion some important question of law or
fact is likely to arise,

and in any such event all proceedings in the magisterial
court in such small cause shall be stayed and the entry of
the plaint of such small cause in the magisterial court shall
be a sufficient commencement of the action to prevent the
operation of any statute of limitations applicable to the
claim.

26. It shall be lawful for either party to an action in
which the amount claimed is not more than six hundred
dollars and which has been entered for trial on the
Summary Side of the Supreme Court to apply to a judge in
chambers to order such action to be tried in the magisterial
court of the Out Island where the parties or either of them
reside or carry on business, or in any court convenient
thereto; and on the hearing of the application the judge
shall, unless there is good cause to the contrary, order such
action to be tried accordingly; and thereupon the Registrar
of the Supreme Court shall transmit by post a certified
copy of all proceedings therein to the magistrate of the
court named in the order who shall appoint a day for the
trial and notify all parties of the same, and the action and
all proceedings therein shall be tried and taken in such
magisterial court as if the action had been originally


Removal of small
causes to Su-
preme Court.

5 of 1987, s. 2.

6 of 1914, s. 11.

6 of 1914, s. 12;
15 of 1952, s. 3;
7 of 1958, s. 2; 5
of 1987, s.2.

Removal of
action from Su-
preme Court to
magisterial court.

CH.54 – 18] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

commenced therein; and the costs of the parties in respect
of the proceedings subsequent to the order of the judge
shall be allowed according to the scale of costs for the time
being in force at the magisterial court, and the costs of the
order and all the proceedings previously thereto shall be
allowed according to the scale of costs for the time being in
force on the Summary Side of the Supreme Court:

Provided that, except with the consent of both parties,
an order to remit for trial as aforesaid any such action as is
founded on tort shall only be made where the defendant
makes an affidavit and satisfies the court that the plaintiff has
no visible means of paying the costs of the defendant should a
verdict be not found for the plaintiff and the plaintiff fails to
obey an order of the judge requiring the plaintiff to give full
security for the defendant’s costs.

27. Whenever a stipendiary and circuit magistrate by
reason of absence, illness, interest in any cause or matter, or
for any other reason, is, in the opinion of the Chief Justice,
incapable of acting, or it is undesirable that he should act as
such magistrate or as circuit justice, his duties as such
magistrate of circuit justice shall be performed by some
other fit and proper person to be appointed by the Chief
Justice.

28. Unless the Chief Justice otherwise directs, where a
magistrate has completed the hearing of a trial in any civil
proceedings save for the delivery of the judgment and
subsequently ceases to act as a magistrate or is transferred to
another district, that magistrate may nevertheless prepare the
judgment to be delivered in respect of the trial and that
judgment may be read by his successor.

29. (1) The Chief Magistrate may transfer any civil
proceedings listed in a magisterial court in New Providence
or Grand Bahama presided over by a magistrate to any other
magisterial court in New Providence or Grand Bahama, as
the case may be, presided over by a magistrate.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where a transfer
of civil proceedings is made in respect of a matter in which
the hearing of evidence in those proceedings has begun, the
hearing of the evidence shall be restarted.

Performance of
duties of sti-
pendiary and cir-
cuit magistrate
by others.
6 of 1914, s. 14;
19 of 1944, s. 2;
E.L.A.O., 1974.

Magistrate may
deliver judgment
prepared by pre-
decessor.
7 of 1991, s. 4.

Transfer of civil
proceedings.
22 of 1994, s. 3.
28 of 1996, s. 11.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 19



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30. Every action hereafter to be brought against any
magistrate for any act done by him in the execution of his
duty as such magistrate, with respect to any matter within
his jurisdiction as such magistrate, shall be in the nature of
an action on the case as for a tort; and in the declaration or
claim it shall be expressly alleged that such act was done
maliciously, and without reasonable and probable cause,
and if at the trial of any such action, upon the general issue
being pleaded, the plaintiff shall fail to prove such
allegation, he shall be nonsuit, or a verdict shall be given
for the defendant.

31. For any act done by a magistrate in a matter of
which by law he has not jurisdiction, or in which he shall
have exceeded his jurisdiction, any person injured thereby, or
by any act done under any conviction or order made or
warrant issued by such magistrate in any such matter, may
maintain an action against such magistrate in the same form
and in the same case as he might have done before the
passing of this Act, without making any allegation in his
declaration or claim that the act complained of was done
maliciously and without reasonable and probable cause:

Provided that no action shall be brought for anything
done under any such conviction or order until after such
conviction or order shall have been quashed by the
Supreme Court; nor shall any such action be brought for
anything done under any such warrant which shall have
been issued by such magistrate to procure the appearance
of such party, and which shall have been followed by a
conviction or order in the same matter, until after such
conviction or order shall have been so quashed as
aforesaid; or if such last-mentioned warrant shall not have
been followed by any such conviction or order, or if it be a
warrant upon an information for an alleged indictable
offence; nevertheless if a summons were issued previously
to such warrant, and such summons were duly served and
he did not appear according to the exigency of such
summons, in such case, no such action shall be maintained
against such magistrate for anything done under such
warrant.

Every action
against a magis-
trate must allege
that act was done
maliciously.

Conditions under
which action may
be brought.

CH.54 – 20] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

32. Where a conviction or order is made by a
magistrate, and a warrant of distress or commitment is
granted thereon by some other magistrate bona fide and
without collusion, no action shall be brought against the
magistrate who granted such warrant by reason of any
defect in such conviction or order, or for any want of
jurisdiction in the magistrate who made the same, but the
action (if any) shall be brought against the magistrate who
made such conviction or order.

33. In all cases where a magistrate refuses to do any
act relating to the duties of his office as such magistrate, it
shall be lawful for the party requiring such act to be done
to apply to the Supreme Court upon an affidavit of the
facts, for a rule calling upon such magistrate and also the
party to be affected by such act, to show cause why such
act should not be done; and if, after due service of such
rule, good cause is not shown against it, the court may
make the same absolute with or without or upon payment
of costs as to it seems meet; and the magistrate, upon being
served with such rule absolute, shall obey the same, and
shall do the act required, and no action or proceeding
whatsoever shall be commenced or prosecuted against such
magistrate for having obeyed such rule and done the act
thereby required as aforesaid.

34. In all cases where a warrant of distress or
warrant of commitment is granted by a magistrate upon
any conviction or order which, either before or after the
granting of such warrant, shall have been or shall be
confirmed upon appeal, no action shall be brought against
such magistrate who so granted such warrant for anything
which may have been done under the same by reason of
any defect in such conviction or order.

35. In all cases where by this Act it is enacted that
no action shall be brought under particular circumstances,
if any such action is brought, it shall be lawful for the
Supreme Court upon the application of the defendant, and
upon an affidavit of facts, to set aside the proceedings in
such action, with or without costs.

36. In all cases where the plaintiff in any such action
as aforesaid is entitled to recover, and proves the levying or
payment of any penalty or sum of money under any
conviction or order as parcel of the damages for any such
imprisonment, he shall not be entitled to recover the


Action to be
brought against
convicting
magistrate.

Mandamus to
magistrate
refusing to act.

Defect in convic-
tion not to
operate against
magistrate issu-
ing warrant of
distress, etc.

Supreme Court
may set aside
proceedings in
action.

Damages.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 21



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amount of such penalty or sum so levied or paid, or any
sum beyond the sum of five cents as damages for such
imprisonment, or any costs of suit whatsoever if it is
proved that he was actually guilty of the offence of which
he was convicted, or that he was liable by law to pay the
sum he was so ordered to pay, and (with respect to such
imprisonment) that he had undergone no greater punish-
ment than that assigned by law for the offence of which he
was so convicted, or for non-payment of the sum he was so
ordered to pay.

PART II
SUMMARY CIVIL JURISDICTION

37. In all civil proceedings, the party making the
claim shall be called the plaintiff, and the party against
whom the claim is made shall be called the defendant, and
both the plaintiff and defendant may give evidence on
oath.

38. The fees specified in the Second Schedule to this
Act shall be paid in advance in all civil proceedings:

Provided that in cases where the magistrate is
satisfied of the inability of any plaintiff to pay the
prescribed fees, and that the plaintiff has prima facie a
good ground of claim, the magistrate may in his discretion
remit the same:

Provided also that in all such cases if judgment is
given for the plaintiff, such fees as would in other cases be
chargeable shall be charged to and recovered from the
defendant.

39. No claim amounting in the whole to a sum
exceeding the amount by which the jurisdiction of a
magistrate is limited by any Act shall be split so as to be
made the ground of two or more different summonses in
order to bring such cases within the jurisdiction of the
magistrate and if the magistrate shall find that the plaintiff
in any case has split his cause of action as aforesaid, he
shall dismiss such summons or summonses but without
prejudice to the plaintiff’s right to sue on the cause of
action in such other manner as he shall think fit:

Provided that, if the plaintiff is content to recover a
sum not exceeding any amount by which the jurisdiction of
the magistrate is limited, the magistrate shall entertain the


5 of 1987, s. 2.

Plaintiff and de-
fendant may give
evidence.

Fees to be taken.
Second Schedule.

Cases where fees
may be remitted.

Claims may not
be split.

6 of 1914, s. 15.

CH.54 – 22] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

summonses and in case any judgments shall be given in
favour of the plaintiff the same shall be a full discharge and
satisfaction of the whole cause of action and it shall be so
expressed in the body of the judgment.

40. In any small cause the defendant may plead and
prove a set-off or counter-claim against the plaintiff:

Provided that the amount claimed whether by set-off
or counter-claim does not exceed the amount by which the
jurisdiction of the magistrate is limited in the particular
case.

41. Any person summoned to give evidence or to
produce any document, and failing or refusing to obey such
summons, and any person present and required to give
evidence refusing to be sworn or to give evidence, shall
(unless he satisfies the magistrate that he has a reasonable
excuse for so failing or refusing) be liable to pay a fine of
twenty dollars.

42. A magistrate may order a new trial to be had
between the parties upon such terms as to costs or
otherwise as he shall think reasonable, and in the mean-
time stay all proceedings.

43. The costs of all civil proceedings shall be in the
discretion of the magistrate, and shall be limited to the fees
comprised in the Second Schedule to this Act:

Provided that the magistrate may in addition to such
fees, in his discretion, allow any reasonable sum or sums,
not exceeding five hundred dollars by way of compensation
for the attendance and loss of time of the parties and
witnesses, and attorney’s costs, and all sums so allowed in
any civil proceeding shall be recovered as costs therein.

44. Every judgment or order may be enforced by
sale of the goods of the defendant, or by attachment of
moneys due to him by any third party. And the magistrate
shall have power to hear and determine all matters of
interpleader.

45. No judgment or order, or order for the payment
of any costs awarded shall be enforced by imprisonment
except as hereinafter prescribed.

6 of 1914, s. 15.
Set-off.

Powers of com-
pulsion on wit-
nesses.

5 of 1987, s. 2.

Magistrate may
order a new trial.

Second Schedule

Costs.

22 of 1994, s. 4.

Execution.

Judgments not to
be enforced by
imprisonment.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 23



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46. Where any defendant shall make default in the
payment of any judgment debt, or of any sum ordered to be
paid, or any instalment, or any costs, and he either has or
has had since the date of the order the means to pay the
same and has refused or neglected or refuses or neglects to
pay the same, the magistrate may commit him to prison
without hard labour for six weeks or until payment of the
sum due; and may issue all necessary warrants in that
behalf.

47. Where power is given by any Act to a magistrate
of requiring any person to do or abstain from doing any act
or thing other than the payment of money or requiring any
act or thing to be done or left undone other than the
payment of money and no mode is prescribed for the
enforcing such requisition, the magistrate may exercise
such power by an order, and may annex thereto any
conditions as to time or mode of action as to him may seem
just, and may suspend or rescind such order on such
undertaking being given or condition being performed as to
him may seem just, and may make such arrangements for
carrying such power into effect as may seem expedient.

48. A person making default in complying with the
order of a magistrate other than for the payment of money
for the space of ten days, may, if it be not otherwise
provided in the Act on which such order is based, upon
application to a magistrate, and on proof of such default,
be ordered to pay a sum not exceeding five dollars for
every day during which he is in default, or to be
imprisoned until he has remedied his default, and any sum
ordered to be paid as last hereinbefore mentioned shall be
recoverable summarily as a civil debt.

49. No person shall for non-compliance with the
requisition of the magistrate, whether made by one or
more orders, to do or to abstain from doing any particular
act or thing, be liable to be imprisoned for a period or
periods amounting in the aggregate to more than six
months, or to the payment of any sums exceeding in the
aggregate eighty dollars.

Except in the
case of a judg-
ment debtor on a
judgment sum-
mons.

Procedure when
the doing or ab-
staining from the
doing of any act
is ordered.

Magistrate may
order a penalty
per diem or im-
prisonment.

5 of 1987, s. 2.

5 of 1987, Sch.

Provided the im-
prisonment does
not exceed six
months, and the
penalty, $80.

CH.54 – 24] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

50. Every person who is directed by any magistrate
to collect the amount of any judgment debt, or order for the
payment of money shall, on receiving the amount of such
debt or sum or any part thereof or of any costs or other
sums of money collected by him, forthwith pay over the
same to the magistrate or the clerk of the magistrate, and
the magistrate or the clerk of the magistrate shall pay the
same to the party who is entitled to receive the same.

51. The rules comprised in the First Schedule to this
Act shall regulate all civil proceedings. And it shall be
lawful for the Rules Committee under section 75 of the
Supreme Court Act to rescind, alter or add such rules as
occasion may require in the manner and form prescribed by
this Act for the making, rescinding, altering or adding
rules. And any rule so made, altered or added shall have
the same force and effect as if enacted in such Schedule as
aforesaid.

PART III
TITLE TO LAND

52. Subject to the provisions of section 15 and
section 23 of this Act, a magisterial court shall have no
jurisdiction to try summarily any case in which title to land
or any interest therein is directly or incidentally in dispute:

Provided that this section shall not apply to the
following cases —

(1) where the claim to such title is impossible in law;
(2) where, in the opinion of the court, the claim to

such title is not set up in good faith;
(3) where, in the opinion of the court, the act

complained of was not done in assertion of the
title claimed;

(4) where the main point at issue is a dispute as to
the correct position of the boundary line of the
land in respect of which the action is brought.

53. (1) In any case in which the defendant objects to
the jurisdiction of a magisterial court on the ground that
title to land or any interest therein is in dispute, the court
shall require the defendant to state the nature of the title
claimed.

All moneys col-
lected to be paid
to magistrate or
clerk.

Ch. 53; 46 of
1964, Sch.

First Schedule
Rules.

Magisterial court
has no jurisdic-
tion where there
is title to land in
dispute.

34 of 1904, s. 11.

6 of 1914, s. 15.

34 of 1904, s. 12.

Nature of title
claimed to be
stated by the
defendant;
procedure.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 25



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(2) If the court shall thereupon be of the opinion that
the claim is impossible in law it shall overrule the objection
and proceed with the case.

(3) In all other cases the court may in its discretion
require to be satisfied by evidence that the claim to such
title is set up in good faith or that the act complained of
was done in assertion of the claim, or that the main point
in issue involves more than a dispute as to the correct
position of the boundary lines of the land in respect of
which the action is brought; and unless the court is so
satisfied it shall overrule the objection and proceed with
the case.

(4) Alternately the court may in its discretion proceed
with the case, and postpone its decision as to the question of
jurisdiction until it shall have heard all the evidence in the
case.

PART IV1
APPEALS

54. (1) An appeal shall lie from the decision of a
magistrate given in the exercise of his summary jurisdic-
tion, whether matrimonial or civil, in the following cases
only, that is to say —

(a) in civil proceedings, when the sum claimed
exceeds one dollar exclusive of costs;

(b) in civil proceedings, when the order for
imprisonment was not made only for the
enforcing of a judgment or order for the payment
of money or as the alternative for failure to
comply with an order for the doing or abstaining
from doing any act or thing required to be done
or left undone, or for the finding of sureties or for
the entering into recognisances for the giving of
security.

(2) Appeals under this section shall lie —
(a) where the case has been heard by the Chief

Magistrate of a stipendiary and circuit
magistrate, to the Supreme Court;


1 Note: By Section 271 of the Criminal Procedure Code Act (No. 38 of 1968), this

Part ceased to apply to criminal appeals, as to which see that Act (Ch. 91).

6 of 1914, s. 15.

34 of 1904, s. 12.

When an appeal
lies.
3 of 1947, s. 2 5
of 1987, s. 2 and
Sch.

To what court.
32 of 1966, s. 6.

CH.54 – 26] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(b) in all other cases to the Chief Magistrate, a
stipendiary and circuit magistrate or a circuit
justice on circuit.

55. A magistrate upon giving any decision which is
appealable, shall inform the party to whom the decision is
adverse that he has a right to appeal therefrom, and what
steps must be taken by a party wishing to appeal, and a
note shall be made at the time by the magistrate that such
information has been given by him to such party as
aforesaid; and every such note shall be conclusive as to the
provisions of this section having been complied with.

56. The appeal shall have the effect of suspending the
execution of the decision appealed from until the case shall
have been determined, and shall be on motion, or, where the
case has been heard in New Providence, by special case as
hereinafter provided.

The appellant, within seven days after the day on
which the magistrate has given his decision, shall serve a
notice in writing, signed by the appellant or his counsel or
attorney, on the other party and on the magistrate of his
intention to appeal and of the general grounds of his
appeal:

Provided that any person aggrieved by the decision
of a magistrate may, upon notice to the other party, apply
to the court to which an appeal from such decision lies, for
leave to extend the time within which the notice of appeal
prescribed by this section may be served, and the court
upon the hearing of such application may extend the time
prescribed by this section as it deems fit.

57. The appellant shall within three days after the
day on which he served notice of his intention to appeal,
enter into a recognisance before a magistrate, with or
without sureties as the magistrate may direct, conditioned
to prosecute the appeal to judgment and to abide the
judgment thereon of the court, and to pay such costs as
may be awarded by it, or, if the magistrate thinks it
expedient, he may instead of entering into recognisances
give such other security by deposit of money with the
magistrate or otherwise as the magistrate deems sufficient.

Duty of magis-
trate on giving
appealable
decision.

Appeal operates
as a stay.
Motion or special
case.

6 of 1941, s. 5.
Notice of appeal

Recognisance or
security to be
taken.

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58. (1) The magistrate, when the case has been
heard in New Providence, shall without delay transmit to
the Registrar of the Supreme Court a copy of the order or
judgment and all papers relating to the appeal and, if the
appellant is represented by counsel or an attorney, such
counsel or attorney, as the case may be, shall not less than
three days prior to the date of the hearing of the appeal
serve upon the Registrar and the respondent a notice
containing particulars of the matters of law or of fact in
regard to which the magistrate is alleged to have erred.

(2) The magistrate, when the case has been heard in
an Out Island, shall without delay notify the circuit justice
of the lodging of the appeal, and shall deliver a copy of the
order or judgment and all papers relating to the appeal to
the circuit justice on his arrival in such island as aforesaid.

59. In all cases of appeal by way of special case the
appellant shall, within the times and in the manner and
form hereinbefore prescribed, serve a notice of appeal and
enter into recognisances, and shall within fourteen days
after the day on which the magistrate gave his decision,
apply to such magistrate to state a special case for the
purposes of the appeal, setting forth the facts of the case
and the grounds on which the proceeding is questioned and
the grounds of the magistrate’s decision.

60. The magistrate may refuse to state a case if he
considers the matter is frivolous, and shall on request
deliver to the appellant a certificate of refusal, and
thereupon the appellant may apply to the Supreme Court
for an order requiring the case to be stated:

Provided that the magistrate shall not refuse to state a
case where the application for that purpose is made to him
by or under the direction of the Attorney-General.

61. The magistrate, upon receiving the application
of the applicant, or the order of the Supreme Court, as the
case may be, shall draw up the special case, concisely
setting forth such facts and documents (if any) as may be
necessary to enable the court to decide the questions raised
in the case, and shall forthwith transmit the same, together
with a copy of the order or judgment appealed from and all
documents alluded to in the special case, to the Registrar


Transmission of
appeal papers.
48 of 1954, s. 6; 5
of 1987, Sch.

Special case.

Remedy if special
case refused.

Duty of magis-
trate as to special
case. How the
parties may ob-
tain copies of
special case.

5 of 1987, Sch.

CH.54 – 28] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

of the Supreme Court who, on applicationof either party,
shall supply such applicant with a copy of the special case
on payment for the same at the rate of twenty-five cents
per folio.

62. On an appeal by motion the appellant on serving
notice on the magistrate of his intention to appeal, and on
entering into recognisances as aforesaid, shall be entitled to
receive with all convenient speed a copy of the evidence
taken by the magistrate in the case, and also a copy of the
order or judgment made or given on payment for the same
at the rate of twenty-five cents per folio.

63. The Registrar shall in either case set the appeal
down for argument on such day, and shall cause notice of
the same to be published in such manner, as the court may
direct.

64. On an appeal by motion, unless the court
considers the justice of the case requires a re-hearing, the
appellant shall begin, and unless he satisfies the court that
it is necessary to call on the respondent, the order or
judgment shall be confirmed:

Provided that, if the court directs a re-hearing, the
respondent, if the issue is with him, shall begin and prove
his case, and the court may, if the justice of the case
requires it, adjourn the hearing to some convenient day.

65. At the hearing of an appeal on motion, the
appellant shall, before going into the case, state all the
grounds of appeal on which he intends to rely, and shall
not, unless by leave of the court, go into any matters not
raised by such statement, nor shall he be entitled to
examine any witnesses not examined at the hearing of the
case before the magistrate unless he has given to the
respondent three clear days’ notice in writing of the names
and addresses of such witnesses and of the substance of the
evidence they will give and unless he has subsequently
obtained the leave of the court to the examination thereof.

66. On an appeal by motion the court may draw
inferences of fact from the evidence given before the
magistrate, and, subject to due notice having been given as
hereinbefore mentioned, shall hear any further evidence
tendered by the appellant, and may take and admit, if it


Appellant en-
titled to copies of
evidence, etc.

5 of 1987, Sch.

Registrar to set
appeal down for
argument.

Appeal not a
rehearing unless
the court so di-
rects.
5 of 1987, Sch.

Procedure on
hearing of appeal
on motion.
48 of 1954, s. 7.

Court on hearing
appeal on motion
to decide on facts
as well as law.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 29



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[Original Service 2001] STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS

think fit, any further evidence tendered in reply and also
such other evidence as it may require, and it may decide
the appeal with reference both to matters of fact and to
matters of law.

67. On appeal by special case the court shall only
entertain such appeal on the ground that the decision of the
magistrate was erroneous in point of law, or in excess of
jurisdiction, and only upon the facts stated and the
evidence mentioned in the special case. And the court may
remit the case to the magistrate for amendment if
necessary.

68. The court may adjourn the hearing of the appeal,
and may upon the hearing thereof confirm, reverse, vary or
modify the decision of the magistrate or remit the matter
with the opinion of the court thereon to the magistrate, or
may make such other order in the matter as it may think
just, and may by such order exercise any power which the
magistrate might have exercised, and such order shall have
the same effect and may be enforced in the same manner as
if it had been made by the magistrate.

69. The court may make such order as to the costs to
be paid by either party as it may think just, and in the event
of costs being allowed may direct a lump sum to be paid by
way of costs not exceeding fifty dollars, for each day of
attendance at court according to the importance of the
appeal, or the length of time occupied by the hearing
thereof, and such sum shall cover all fees of office and all
fees of counsel or attorney:

Provided that no magistrate shall be liable to any
costs in respect of any appeal against his decision.

70. Where an appeal is abandoned or withdrawn
the court, on proof of notice of appeal having been given
to the respondent, may make an order that the respondent
shall receive such costs as the court may allow, and such
costs shall be recoverable as hereinafter provided.

71. No judgment shall be given in favour of the
appellant if the appeal is based on an objection to any
summons or warrant for any alleged defect therein in
matter of substance or for any variance between such
summons or warrant, and the evidence adduced in support


On appeal by
special case court
confined to facts
and evidence
stated therein.

Powers of court
on hearing
appeals.

Costs.

5 of 1987, Sch; 6
of 1958, s. 2.

Where appeal is
abandoned court
may give respon-
dent his costs.

No appeal on
point of form or
matter of
variance.

CH.54 – 30] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

thereof, unless it be proved that such objection was raised
before the magistrate whose decision is appealed against,
and that, notwithstanding it was shown to such magistrate
that by such variance the appellant had been deceived or
misled, such magistrate refused to adjourn the hearing of
the case to a future day.

72. In any case of appeal the court may hear and
determine the case upon the merits, notwithstanding any
defect in form or otherwise in the order or judgment.

73. No order shall be quashed for want of form or
removed by certiorari into any other court, and no warrant
of commitment shall be held void by reason of any defect
therein:

Provided that it be therein alleged that the party has
been ordered to do or abstain from doing any act or thing
required to be done or left undone, and there be a good and
valid order to sustain the same.

74. When an order is made upon either party for
costs, such costs shall be payable to the proper officer of
the court, to be by him paid over to the party entitled to
the same, and in the absence of any special direction shall
be payable forthwith.

75. If the costs on the appeal are not paid within the
time ordered by the court, the proper officer shall, on the
application of the party entitled to the same, or any person
duly authorised on his behalf, and on payment of the
prescribed fee (if any), grant to such party a certificate that
such costs have not been paid, and on production thereof to
any magistrate in the district where the case was heard,
such magistrate shall enforce the payment of costs in the
manner prescribed by the Criminal Procedure Code Act for
enforcing the payment of a fine imposed on a summary
conviction, and where a recognisance with sureties has
been entered into, shall enforce the payment due there-
under in the manner prescribed by this Act:

Provided that on an appeal from a decision of a
magistrate in civil proceedings, the court shall not order
imprisonment for the enforcing payment of any costs
except as provided by that Part of this Act relating to civil
proceedings.

Exception

Court may decide
on merits not-
withstanding any
defect in form.
5 of 1987, Sch.
No certiorari.

Defect in warrant
of commitment
not to render
void.
5 of 1987, Sch.

How costs are
payable.

How costs are
recoverable.
5. of 1987, Sch.

Ch. 91.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 31



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76. Whenever the decision of a magistrate is con-
firmed on appeal the Registrar of the Supreme Court shall
inform the magistrate of such confirmation, and thereupon
the magistrate sitting for the same district may issue a
warrant of distress, or commitment, or writ of execution, as
the case may be, for enforcing such decision in the same
manner as though no appeal had been brought.

Whenever the decision is not confirmed, the
Registrar of the Supreme Court shall send to the
magistrate, from whose decision the appeal was made, for
entry in his register, and shall also endorse on the order or
judgment appealed against, a memorandum of the decision
of the court, and whenever any copy of certificate of such
judgment or order is made, a copy of such memorandum
shall be added thereto, and shall be sufficient evidence of
the decision on appeal in every case where such copy or
certificate would be sufficient evidence of such order or
judgment.

77. (1) It shall be the duty of any magistrate on any
Out Island against whose decision an appeal has been
entered, on receiving notice by the Gazette of the circuit of
the circuit justice, to serve a notice upon the parties to the
appeal stating as nearly as possible the date at which the
circuit justice may be expected at the place at which the
appeal is to be heard, and the appeal shall not be heard in
the absence of either party unless it shall be proved to the
circuit justice that such party has been duly served with a
notice under this section:

Provided that, on the entering of an appeal at an Out
Island, each of the parties to the appeal shall forthwith
serve on the magistrate of the district in which the appeal is
to be heard a notice in writing stating an address for service
in The Bahamas at which notice of the hearing of the
appeal may be left for them and the leaving of the said last
mentioned notice at the said address shall be good and
sufficient service on the parties:

Provided further that such address for service may be
altered by either party giving notice of a change of address
to be served on the magistrate as aforesaid at any time
before the service of the said notice of hearing as aforesaid.
And in the event of no such address for service being given,
the circuit justice may deal with the case in the absence of
both or either of the parties.

Where decision
confirmed, war-
rant may issue as
though no appeal
had been made.

Where decision
not confirmed.
5 of 1987, Sch.

Notice required
to be served upon
the parties to an
appeal.

34 of 1904, s. 10.
6 of 1940, s. 2

CH.54 – 32] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(2) A peace officer or other person serving any such
notice shall be entitled to the same mileage fees as those
fixed by the Second Schedule to this Act and all such fees
shall be costs in the appeal.

PART V
DISTRESS

78. The wearing apparel and bedding of a person
and his family, and to the value of one hundred dollars the
tools and implements of his trade, shall not be taken under
a distress issued by a magistrate.

79. A warrant of distress shall be executed by or
under the direction of a peace officer.

80. Save so far as the person against whom the
distress is levied otherwise consents in writing, the distress
shall be sold by public auction, and five clear days at the
least shall intervene between the making of the distress and
the sale, and where written consent is so given as aforesaid,
the sale may be made in accordance with such consent.

81. Subject as aforesaid, the distress shall be sold
within the period fixed by the warrant, and if no period is
so fixed, then within the period of fourteen days from the
date of the making of the distress, unless the sum for which
the warrant was issued, and also the charges of taking and
keeping the said distress, are sooner paid.

82. Subject to any directions to the contrary given
by the warrant of distress, where the distress is levied on
household goods, the goods shall not, except with the
consent in writing of the person against whom the distress
is so levied, be removed from the house until the day of
sale, but so much of the goods shall be impounded as are in
the opinion of the person executing the warrant sufficient
to satisfy the distress, by affixing to the articles impounded
a conspicuous mark.

83. A written account of the costs and charges
incurred in respect of the execution of any warrant of
distress shall be sent by the peace officer charged with the
execution of the warrant so soon as practicable to the
magistrate issuing the warrant, and it shall be lawful for


Mileage fees.

Second Schedule.

What may not be
taken.
5 of 1981, Sch.

Warrant, how
executed.

Public auction
after five days.

Sale within
fourteen days.

Impounding
goods levied on.

Account to be
sent to magistrate
of costs.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 33



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the person upon whose goods the distress was levied,
within one month after the levy of the distress, to inspect
such account without fee or reward at any reasonable time
to be appointed by the magistrate, and to take a copy of
such account.

84. A peace officer charged with the execution of a
warrant of distress shall cause the distress to be sold, and
may deduct out of the amount realised by such sale all
costs and charges actually incurred in effecting such sale,
and shall render to the owner the overplus, if any, after
retaining the amount of the sum for which the warrant was
issued and the proper costs and charges of the execution of
the warrant.

85. Where a person pays or tenders to the peace
officer charged with the execution of a warrant of distress
the sum mentioned in such warrant of distress the sum
mentioned in such warrant, or produces the receipt for the
same to the magistrate, or the clerk of the magistrate
issuing the warrant, and also pays the amount of the costs
and charges of such distress up to the time of such payment
or tender the peace officer shall not execute the warrant.

86. It shall be lawful for any person other than the
person mentioned in the warrant, claiming to be the owner
of the property levied on, within the five clear days in
section 80 of this Act mentioned, to cause to be replevied
in the manner and form in which goods are replevied
which have been distrained upon for non-payment of rent.
And if within such five days as aforesaid the property
levied on is not replevied, no person other than the person
mentioned in the warrant aforesaid shall have any right of
action against any other person in respect of such property.

PART VI
DESTRUCTION OF ANIMALS

87. Where any animal is found which appears to be
suffering from old age, disease or otherwise, it shall be the
duty of every peace officer to seize and carefully convey
the same to some convenient place set apart for the purpose
and there to detain the said animal.

Costs of sale to
be deducted from
proceeds.

Warrant not to
be executed if
amount due and
all costs be paid
or tendered.

Replevy.

Animal suffering
to be detained.
23 of 1925, s. 2.

CH.54 – 34] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

88. Every peace officer so seizing and detaining any
animal shall forthwith notify the fact to a magistrate who
shall without delay summon the owner, or the person in
whose custody the animal was found, to appear before him
to show cause why the said animal should not be
destroyed.

89. It shall be lawful for the magistrate to cause
any such animal to be inspected by a veterinary surgeon
or other qualified person for the purpose of ascertaining
whether such animal is suffering and should in the
opinion of the said veterinary surgeon or other person be
destroyed.

90. Where the magistrate is satisfied that any such
animal is suffering and should in his opinion be destroyed,
he shall by an order in writing order the destruction of the
same.

91. No person shall be entitled to any compensation
for any animal destroyed under the provisions of this Part
of this Act.

92. All expenses incurred in carrying out the
provisions of this Part of this Act shall be paid out of the
Consolidated Fund by warrant in the usual manner.

PART VII
MISCELLANEOUS

93. (1) The Minister of Finance may from time to
time grant warrants upon the Treasury for the payment of
expenses of the description hereinafter enumerated upon
being satisfied that the services charged for were not only
actually performed, and the charges therefor fair and
reasonable, but that such services were necessary for the
due and proper administration of justice; that is to say, for
the payment of such sums as appear to the magistrate
reasonably sufficient to compensate any witness for the
expense, trouble or loss of time properly incurred in or
incidental to his attendance and giving evidence; and for
the expenses attending the conveyance of any such witness
from his ordinary place of abode to the place where the
trial or investigation may be held.

Magistrate to be
notified.
23 of 1925, s. 3.

Animal may be
inspected.
23 of 1925, s. 4.

Magistrate may
order destruction
of animal.
23 of 1925, s. 5.

No compensa-
tion.
23 of 1925, s. 6.

Expenses.
23 of 1925, s. 7.

Expenses
provided for.

9 of 1961, s.2:
E.L.A.O. 1974;5
of 1987, Sch.

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(2) In this section the expression “witness” means a
person properly attending to give evidence, whether or not
he gives evidence.

94. In any proceeding, in which it is necessary to
state the ownership of any property belonging to or in
possession of partners, joint-tenants, parceners or tenants
in common, it shall be sufficient to name one of such
persons, and to state the property to belong to the person
so named and another, or others as the case may be; and
whenever in any proceedings thereon, it is necessary to
mention for any purpose whatsoever any partners, joint-
tenants, parceners or tenants in common, it shall be
sufficient to describe them in the manner aforesaid; and
whenever in any proceedings, it is necessary to describe
the ownership of any work or building made, maintained or
repaired at the expense of any corporation, or the
inhabitants of any place, or of any materials for the making
or repairing the same, they may be therein described as the
property of the inhabitants of such place.

95. No objection shall be allowed to any summons
or warrant for any alleged defect therein in substance or in
form.

96. A warrant of distress shall not be deemed void by
reason only of any defect therein if it be therein alleged
that an order has been made and there is a good and valid
order to sustain the same. And no peace officer acting
under any warrant shall be deemed a trespasser from the
beginning by reason of any defect in the warrant, or of any
irregularity in the issue of the warrant, but this enactment
shall not prejudice the right of any person to satisfaction
for any special damage caused by any irregularity in the
execution of a warrant, so, however, that if amends are
tendered before action brought, and if the action is
brought are paid into court in the action; and if the
plaintiff does not recover more than the sum so tendered
and paid into court, the plaintiff shall not be entitled to
any costs incurred after such tender, and the defendant
shall be entitled to costs to be taxed as between attorney
and client.

Description of
the property of
partners, etc.
5 of 1987, Sch.

No objection to
be allowed on
point of form or
variance.
5 of 1987, Sch.
Warrant of dis-
tress not to be
impeached for
want of form.
5 of 1987, Sch.

CH.54 – 36] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

97. If at any time during any proceedings before a
magistrate it shall become necessary to adjourn the hearing
of the same, the magistrate may from time to time adjourn
the case to a certain time and place to be then appointed, in
the hearing of the parties, or their counsel or attorneys.

98. The sums set forth in the Second Schedule to
this Act shall be charged and paid in advance upon civil
proceedings taken and had before a magistrate.

99. In a proceeding within the jurisdiction of a
magistrate, without prejudice to any other mode of proof,
service on a person of any summons, notice, process or
document required or authorised to be served, and the
handwriting and seal of any magistrate or other officer or
person on any warrant, summons, notice, process or
document may be proved by a solemn declaration taken
before a magistrate or before any person authorised to take
declarations, and any declarations purporting to be so taken
shall, until the contrary is shown, be sufficient proof of the
statements contained therein, and shall be received in
evidence in any court or legal proceeding without proof of
the signature or of the official character of the person or
persons taking or signing the same.

The declaration may be in the form provided by a
rule under this Act, and if any declaration made under this
section is untrue in any material particular, the person
wilfully making such false declaration shall be guilty of
wilful and corrupt perjury.

100. All fees, proceeds of forfeitures and other
moneys coming into the hands of a magistrate or a clerk of
the magistrate shall be paid by him into the Treasury at
such times as the Minister responsible for Legal Affairs
may direct, except where otherwise provided by any Act.

101. (1) Every magistrate or his clerk (if any) shall
keep a register of the minutes or memoranda of all the
orders of such magistrate and of such other proceedings as
are directed by a rule under this Act to be registered; and
shall keep the same with such particulars and in such form
as may be from time to time directed by a rule under this
Act.

Power to magis-
trate to adjourn
and remand.

5 of 1987, Sch.

Fees in summary
proceedings.
5 of 1987, Sch.
Second Schedule.

Proof by de-
claration of ser-
vice of process or
of handwriting,
etc.

Disposal of fees,
fines, etc.
E.L.A.O. 1974; 5
of 1987, Sch.

Register of court
of magistrate.
5 of 1987, Sch.

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(2) A full and true account shall be kept of every
sum paid to the clerk or magistrate under this Act, and the
appropriation of such sum shall be entered and authenti-
cated in such manner as may be from time to time directed
by a rule under this Act.

(3) Every such register shall be open for inspection
without fee or reward by any magistrate, or by any person
authorised in that behalf by a magistrate or by the
Governor-General:

Provided that the magistrate may in addition to such
fees, in his discretion, allow any reasonable sum or sums,
not exceeding five hundred dollars by way of compensa-
tion for the attendance and loss of time of the parties and
witnesses, and attorney’s costs, and all sums so allowed in
any civil proceeding shall be recovered as costs therein.

102. (1) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in
any law where adequate equipment is provided for
recording mechanically the evidence and proceedings in
any cause or matter, whether civil or criminal, heard before
a magisterial or coroner’s court, the presiding magistrate or
coroner, as the case may be, may proceed to have such
evidence and proceedings recorded by that equipment.

(2) Save as provided in subsection (1) the provisions
of section 77 of the Supreme Court Act shall mutatis
mutandis apply to the mechanical recording of such
evidence and proceedings.

103. The Rules Committee under section 75 of the
Supreme Court Act may from time to time make rules in
relation to the following matters, or any of them, that is to
say —

(a) the giving of security under this Act;
(b) the regulating of all civil proceedings under this

Act;
(c) the forms to be used under this Act;
(d) the regulating of the form of the register and the

account to be rendered by magistrates or clerks
of magistrates of fees, and other sums received
by them;

(e) the regulating of the procedure on appeals by
special case or otherwise under this Act;

Record of court
proceedings.
7 of 1995, s. 2.

Ch. 53.

Rules.
46 of 1964, Sch.
Ch. 53.

5 of 1987, Sch.

CH.54 – 38] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(f) any other matter in relation to which rules are
required to be made under or for the purpose of
carrying this Act into effect;

(g) the rates or scales of payment of expenses of
witnesses under section 93 of this Act.

SCHEDULES2

FIRST SCHEDULE (Section 125)

MAGISTRATES’ RULES OF COURT 1934
PART I

COMMENCEMENT OF PROCEEDINGS
1. All civil proceedings shall be commenced by application

to a magistrate for the issue of a summons.
2. (1) The summons shall contain the names and addresses

of the parties and the day on which the defendant is to appear
and shall be endorsed with a statement of the nature and where
possible with the particulars of the claim or of the relief claimed.
If necessary particulars may be attached to the summons. In the
case of a summons issued in New Providence where the
defendant resides therein the day of appearance shall not be less
than five days or more than thirty days after the issue of the
summons, and where the defendant resides in a district other
than that in which the summons is issued. the day of appearance
shall not be less than fourteen days or more than forty-two days
after the issue of the summons. In cases where a summons is
issued at an Out Island by the magistrate for service within his
district, the day of appearance shall not be less than five days or
more than twenty days after the issue of the summons:

Provided the magistrate may, on application, extend the
number of days.

(2) In cases where a summons is issued by a stipendiary
and circuit magistrate while on circuit the day of appearance shall
not be less than twenty-four hours, or more than five days after the
issue of the summons.


2 Note: The First and Second (together with a Third Schedule here printed as a

Schedule to the rules in the First Schedule to the Act) were inserted, in place of the
original First and Second Schedules, by the Magistrates Rules of Court 1934, which
were stated to be made under S. 125 of the Act and were dated 6th October 1934 (see
O.G. 13th October 1934, Notice No. 200 at p. 355). They were expressed to be amended
by the Magistrates (Increase of Court Fees) (Amendment) Rules of Court 1953 (see
Post).

9 of 1961, s. 3.

Issue of
summons.

Contents of
summons.

Circuit
summons.

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(3) In the case of a summons applied for in the
Magistrate’s Court on its civil side where it is shown upon oath to
the satisfaction of the magistrate that the defendant is a transient
person, and is likely to leave the district before the expiration of the
minimum period of five days fixed for the day of appearance, the
magistrate may, in his discretion, in issuing the summons, make the
same returnable at any time. Service of such summons shall be
personal unless the magistrate issuing the same shall otherwise
order.

(4) Where a summons has been issued, the magistrate upon
proof under oath that any person who is a material witness in the
case may leave the Island before the day of appearance fixed by
such summons, may summon such person to appear before him at
any time prior to the day of appearance to be examined on behalf of
either party in the cause.

(5) Written notice of such examination must be given by
the party proposing to have such witness examined to the other
party to the cause. And upon the magistrate being satisfied by oath
or otherwise that such notice has been given, he may proceed to
examine the person offered as witness, notwithstanding the party
served with notice of examination does not appear. And the
examination taken under Rule 2(4) and this Rule may be used in
evidence at the trial of the cause, subject to any objections offered
thereto and allowed by the magistrate.

3. (1) The magistrate shall deliver to a peace officer the
summons and so many copies thereof as there may be defendants
under his hand and seal, and the peace officer shall without delay
serve each defendant with a copy thereof and endorse on the
original the time and mode of service and return the same to the
magistrate or his clerk who shall thereupon file it.

(2) Service of any document shall be effected either by
delivering the same personally to the person to whom it is directed,
or, if he cannot be conveniently found, by leaving it with some
adult inmate at his last or his most usual place of abode.

(3) Service of a summons on a partnership may be effected
by serving the same on any member of the partnership or on any
person having the management of the partnership business, or by
leaving the same at their principal place of business.

(4) Where by any statute provision is made for service of any
writ, bill, petition, summons, or other process upon any corpora-
tion or upon any society or any body or number of persons,
whether corporate or unincorporate, every writ of summons may be
served in the manner so provided, or, when no such provision is
made, upon the head office, treasurer, secretary, manager, or agent
of such corporation or society.

Short notice
summons.

Short notice wit-
ness summons.

Procedure.

Summons to be
served by peace
officer.

Ordinary service.

Partnership.

Statutory provi-
sions e.g. compa-
nies.

CH.54 – 40] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(5) Service of a summons on an infant may be effected
by serving the same on the person under whose care or in whose
custody such infant is found.

(6) Where a summons is to be served out of the jurisdiction
of The Bahamas the magistrate may apply to a judge in writing for
directions as to the manner in which such summons shall be served.

(7) Proof of service of a summons or subpoena may be
given by affidavit endorsed thereon and sworn before a magistrate
or justice of the peace.

4. (1) Where it is necessary to serve any document out of the
district of the magistrate issuing the same, such document shall be
forwarded or delivered to the magistrate of the district in which it is
to be served, who shall forthwith cause the same to be served by the
peace officer nearest to the abode of the defendant, and upon such
service being effected, to be shown by an affidavit of the peace
officer serving the same, the said magistrate shall forward the
original document together with the affidavit of service to the
magistrate by whom such document was issued.

(2) If after service of a summons on a defendant residing in
a district other than that in which the summons is issued the
defendant desires to consent that judgment be entered against him,
he may appear before a magistrate in such other district and the
magistrate shall cause the summons to be endorsed with such
consent and signed by the defendant and the magistrate, who shall
then return it to the court of origin. Whereupon judgment may be
entered for the plaintiff.

5. The magistrate on application may issue summonses for the
attendance of witnesses, and may in such summons direct the
production of any book or document which is shown to him to be
material to the issue, and which is in the possession or control of
the person to be so summoned.

6. It shall be in the discretion of the magistrate to order that
any witnesses summoned to attend shall be entitled to receive a sum
not exceeding twenty cents as conduct money for such attendance
whether the witness actually be called to give evidence or not.

PART II
THE HEARING

7. If upon the day of hearing mentioned in the summons either
party fails to appear, the magistrate may strike out the case or
adjourn the hearing to some convenient date. If the plaintiff alone
appears and satisfactory proof on oath of the service of the
summons on the defendant is given, then the magistrate may
proceed to hear the evidence of the plaintiff in the absence of the
defendant and give judgment accordingly.

Infants.

Summons served
out of the juris-
diction.

Proof of service.

Service out of the
district.

Consent judg-
ment out of dis-
trict.

Summonses for
witnesses and of
production of
documents.

Conduct money.
5 of 1987, s. 2.

Procedure.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 41



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8. If any defence or counterclaim is raised at the hearing, to
answer which, in the opinion of the magistrate, the plaintiff requires
time for obtaining further evidence, he shall adjourn the hearing to
a convenient day.

9. Except where admissions are made, the magistrate shall
require proof of the facts of the case before giving his decision, and
he shall hear and determine the case according to the rules of law
and equity prevailing in the Supreme Court.

10. Where the magistrate finds that the amount due on set-
off or counterclaim exceeds the amount due to the plaintiff, he may
give judgment for the balance due to the defendant. And where
there are cross actions which can conveniently be heard together,
the magistrate may consolidate them and give judgment for the
party to whom the larger amount is due.

PART III
EXECUTION

11. The magistrate may order any amount for which he
gives judgment to be paid by instalments and shall only issue
execution accordingly. But on the defendant failing to pay any
instalment, he may issue execution for any balance due either of an
instalment or of the judgment debt.

12. Where it is shown to a magistrate on oath that a debt is
owing by a third party to a judgment debtor, the magistrate may
cause an order to be served on such third party (called the
garnishee) attaching such debt in his hands for the satisfaction of
the judgment debt, or any part thereof remaining unpaid, and
requiring him to appear on a certain day and show cause why he
should not pay to the judgment creditor the debt or part of the debt
due to the judgment debtor.

13. If the garnishee does not forthwith pay to the judgment
creditor such debt or part of such debt as aforesaid, or if he appears
and fails to show cause to the satisfaction of the magistrate, or if he
fails either to pay or to appear, the magistrate may make such order
as the justice of the case may require, and may issue execution
against the garnishee for the enforcing of such order.

14. The order to show cause shall bind the debt in the hands
of the garnishee until it is obeyed or discharged. And payment by him
to the judgment creditor shall operate as a valid payment to the
judgment creditor.

15. Where a judgment debtor has obtained a judgment
order for the payment of money against some other person and the
sum due under that judgment or order is paid into court for the use
of the judgment debtor, a judgment creditor of the judgment debtor
may, upon giving two days notice to the judgment debtor and to the
court, apply to the magistrate to order such sum to be paid to him.

Adjournments to
meet counter-
claim or set-off.

Judgment
according to law
and equity.

Judgment for
defendant for
balance.

Cross action.

Judgment debts
payable by
instalments.

Garnishee order.

Execution
against
garnishee.

Order binds debt
and payment dis-
charges gar-
nishee’s liability.

Charging order.

CH.54 – 42] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

16. On the receipt of such notice, the court shall retain the
money until after the application has been heard, and the magistrate
on hearing the application, may make such order as to the money
paid into court and as to costs, as he may think just. A
memorandum shall be made in the books of the court relating to the
judgment or order obtained by the judgment debtor, the judgment
or order made against him and of the manner in which such money
is ordered to be applied.

17. Every writ of execution shall be under the hand and
seal of the magistrate, and shall be directed to a peace officer,
commanding him to levy the amount mentioned in the writ of the
goods of the person against whom it is issued. A writ of execution,
if unexecuted, shall remain in force for one year only from its issue.

18. If no goods are found in the district, the magistrate may
send the writ to the magistrate of any other district in which goods
of the person against whom it is issued are likely to be found. And
such last mentioned magistrate shall endorse the same with his
name and the name of a peace officer in his district, and shall cause
the writ to be executed as though it had been originally issued by
him.

19. A peace officer receiving a writ for execution shall,
without delay, seize such of the goods of the person against whom
the writ is issued, as may be lawfully taken in execution, and which
arc in the district of the magistrate issuing or endorsing the writ (as
the case may be), and after five clear days shall sell by auction so
much of the same as is sufficient to satisfy the amount mentioned in
the writ and the cost of execution, and shall forthwith pay the
amount realised to the magistrate delivering to him the writ.

20. The magistrate shall forthwith apply such amount in
paying the costs of the execution and in satisfying the plaintiff’s
claim, and if there is any balance shall pay the same to the person
against who the writ is issued.

21. In the case of a magistrate who has endorsed a writ,
such magistrate shall pay the costs of the execution, and forward to
the magistrate issuing the writ the amount mentioned in the writ,
and shall pay the balance, if any, to the person against whom the
writ was issued, and the magistrate issuing the writ, on receiving
the amount forwarded to him, after satisfying any costs incurred in
the execution of the writ, shall pay the same to the plaintiff.

22. Where no goods can be found sufficient to satisfy the
judgment and costs incident to the enforcing thereof the plaintiff
may obtain a copy of the judgment from the magistrate, endorsed
by him with the date of the writ of execution and statement as to the
return made thereto, and may cause the same to be filed in the
Supreme Court, and thereupon all proceedings may be taken in the
Supreme Court for the realising of any land of the person against
whom the writ is issued as though the judgment had been obtained
in the Supreme Court on its summary side.

Procedure on
charging order.

Writ of
execution.

Backing in other
district.

Seizure and sale.

Application of
proceeds.

When writ is
backed.

Execution on
land by Supreme
Court.

MAGISTRATES [CH.54 – 43



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23. Where any claim is made within five days in respect of
any goods seized under a writ of execution by any person other than
the person against whom the writ is issued, the peace officer shall not
proceed to sell the goods (unless the goods are perishable and the
magistrate gives a special order in that behalf) but shall report the
matter to the magistrate who has delivered to him the writ, and the
magistrate shall thereupon summon the claimant to appear before
him on a certain day to prove his claim, and shall give notice to the
execution creditor thereof, and at the hearing shall either dismiss the
claim or order the peace officer to withdraw or make such other order
as the justice of the case may require.

24. The magistrate may examine on oath any judgment
debtor for the discovery of his property generally and also a
garnishee as to any debt due to the judgment debtor, and also any
witnesses who can give material evidence in either case, and may
summon any such person as aforesaid to attend for examination in
that behalf on a convenient day.

25. No order for the imprisonment of a judgment debtor
shall operate as an extinguishment of the debt or grounds of claim
of any plaintiff, or deprive any person of the right to obtain a writ of
execution for the satisfaction of the debt.

26. Proof of the means of a person making default in the
payment of a judgment debt may be given in such manner as the
magistrate thinks just and such person and any witnesses may be
summoned and examined on oath as other witnesses may be
summoned and examined.

27. Where goods have been distrained for rent or
otherwise, any person claiming to have the same replevied shall
give security approved by a magistrate that he will commence an
action of replevin within one month, and prosecute the same with
effect and without delay, and make a return of the goods, if a return
be adjudged, in such an amount as will cover the rent or damage in
respect of which the distress was made, and the probable costs of
the action.

28. The magistrate shall thereupon issue a warrant to the
person in whose custody are the goods distrained directing him to
restore the same to the claimant.

PART IV
LANDLORD AND TENANT PROCEEDINGS

29. (1) A summons may issue for the recovery of possession
of land where the claim is by a landlord against a tenant whose term
has expired or has been duly determined by notice to quit, or which
has become liable to forfeiture for non-payment of rent. Such a
summons may include a claim for mesne profits, arrears of rent and
damages for breach of any contract under which the land is held, or
for any wrong or injury to the premises.

Interpleader.

Discovery of
debtors assets.

Imprisonment
not discharge of
judgment debt.

Proof of means
on judgment
summons.

Replevin.

Writ of replevin.

Recovery of pos-
session.

CH.54 – 44] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

(2) In any such action service of the summons shall be
personal, but if the defendant cannot be found, it shall be effected
by posting the summons on some conspicuous part of the premises
which are the subject matter of dispute.

(3) A person not named as a defendant in a summons in
any such action may, by leave of the magistrate, appear and defend
upon showing that he is in possession of the land either by himself
or by his tenant and shall in all subsequent proceedings be named
as a party to the action.

(4) If the defendant does not appear or if no defence is
raised, or upon a decision in favour of the plaintiff, the magistrate
may enter judgment that the plaintiff shall recover possession of the
land, and that the defendant deliver up possession thereof.

(5) Where the summons in any such action has been endorsed
with a claim for mesne profits, arrears of rent, or damages for
breach of contract, the magistrate may enter judgment for
possession of the land and proceed to hear and determine the
claim for mesne profits, arrears of rent, or damage, as the case may
be.

(6) Recovery of possession of land may be enforced by
writ of possession in the form of the Schedule to these rules.

(Note. A plaintiff having a judgment for possession of land
may, at his own risk, enter without taking out a writ of possession if
he can do so without force.)

(7) The foregoing rules do not apply to cases coming within
the provisions of the Small Tenements Act (Ch. 160).

PART V
GENERAL

30. When any party requires any order to be made by a
magistrate he may apply to the magistrate by motion, and if the
motion is one of which the magistrate is of opinion that the adverse
party should have notice, he shall adjourn the case and cause a
notice of the motion and of the day on which the motion be heard
(not being less than a four days’ notice) to be served on the adverse
party, and may then proceed as in the case of a summons.

31. On an appeal from a decision of a magistrate in either his
criminal or civil jurisdiction he shall cause a copy of the
proceedings, which shall include the evidence, to be made and
paged and shall forward this copy together with a precis of the
documents or exhibits, if any, concerned to the Registrar of the
Supreme Court or the circuit justice as the case may be; he shall also
attach to the copy referred to above a list of the witnesses examined
showing the pages on which their evidence appears.

Motions.

Appeals.

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32. Where a circuit justice exercises his original jurisdiction
with regard to questions of title to land under the principal Act he
shall have all the powers that may be attributed to the Supreme
Court in the enforcement of any order made.

33. All previous rules heretofore made under the principal
Act are hereby repealed.

SCHEDULE TO MAGISTRATES’ RULES OF COURT

FORM OF WRIT OF POSSESSION.
BAHAMA ISLANDS.

Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of
God of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland
and of Her other Realms and Terri-
tories Queen, Head of the Common-
wealth, Defender of the Faith.

To any lawful constable of ........................................................
Greeting:

WHEREAS by a judgment of this Court ...................................
given on the ........................ day of ............................, A.D. 19,
was ordered to deliver to possession, of all that ........................
....................................................................................................
(describe the premises.)

THEREFORE you are commanded to enter the same, and (without
delay, or within ..........................................................................................
days) cause the said ..................................................................................
to have possession of the said land and premises with the
appurtenances. And in what manner you have executed the Writ
make appear to this Court immediately after execution thereof..
And have there then this writ.

Witness my hand and the seal of the Court at ...........................
this ............................. day of ................................. 19

..................................................
Magistrate.



Circuit justice
and title to land.

Repeal.

Rule 29(6).

CH.54 – 46] MAGISTRATES





STATUTE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS [Original Service 2001]

SECOND SCHEDULE (Sections 112, 117, 152(2), 202)3

FEES IN CIVIL PROCEEDINGS

Court Fees

Summons and copy ................................................................ 20c.
Summons for witness ............................................................. 20c.
Hearing fee ............................................................................. 20c.
Writ of execution.................................................................... 30c.

For taking any affidavit or declaration not intended to be
used on any criminal charge and attesting the same............... 20c.

Officers’ Fees.


Service of a summons or other document within a mile of
the Magistrate’s Court............................................................

15c.

Extra mileage per mile ........................................................... 7c.
Seizure of property under writ of execution........................... 30c.

For poundage on the net proceeds of sales under execution, five
per centum, and upon the amount of all executions where levies
are actually made and where the matter shall afterwards be
compromised without sale, one half of the aforesaid poundage.




3 Note: The fees set out in this Schedule were expressed to be subject to an increase

of twenty five per centum under the Magistrates (Increase of Court Fees) (Amendment)
Rules of Court 1953 (see O.G. 18th May 1953 Notice No. 121 at p. 142).

5 of 1987, s 2

34 of 1904, s 14