Magistrates’ Courts Act

Link to law: http://tuvalu-legislation.tv/cms/images/LEGISLATION/PRINCIPAL/1963/1963-0005/MagistratesCourtsAct_1.pdf
Published: 1963-10-14

Magistrates’ Courts Act


2008 Revised Edition

CAP. 7.36






MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Arrangement of Sections





2008 Revised Edition


Page 3



MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section

PART I – PRELIMINARY 7
1 Short title................................................................................................................ 7
2 Interpretation.......................................................................................................... 7

PART II - CONSTITUTION OF THE COURTS 9
3 Establishment of the Senior Magistrate’s Court and magistrates’ courts .............. 9
4 Territorial jurisdiction of magistrate’s courts ........................................................ 9
5 Seals ....................................................................................................................... 9
6 Contempt of court .................................................................................................. 9

PART III - OFFICERS OF THE COURT 10
7 Appointment of Senior Magistrate and magistrates............................................. 10
8 Territorial jurisdiction.......................................................................................... 10
9 Special appointments ........................................................................................... 11
10 Procedure where magistrate is unable to adjudicate on any cause or matter

by reason of personal interest, etc........................................................................ 11
11 Records and returns ............................................................................................. 11
12 Appointment and removal of justices of the peace .............................................. 11
13 Powers and functions of justices of the peace...................................................... 12
14 Clerks of court ..................................................................................................... 12
15 Duties of clerks of court....................................................................................... 12
16 Sheriff .................................................................................................................. 13
17 Bailiffs ................................................................................................................. 13
18 Other officers ....................................................................................................... 13
19 Transfer of officers .............................................................................................. 14

PART IV - JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES’ COURTS 14
20 Powers of magistrates’ courts .............................................................................. 14
21 [repealed by 8 of 1987] ........................................................................................ 14

Arrangement of Sections CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 4




22 Civil jurisdiction...................................................................................................14
23 Law and equity .....................................................................................................15
24 Extension of civil jurisdiction ..............................................................................15
25 Criminal jurisdiction ............................................................................................15
26 Special jurisdiction in certain cases......................................................................16
27 General powers of magistrates .............................................................................16
28 Acts of magistrates not to be affected by error as to venue..................................17
29 Proceedings by or against an officer of a magistrate’s court................................17
30 Administration of oaths........................................................................................17
31 Jurisdiction of judges of High Court concurrent with that of magistrates............18
32 Reconciliation.......................................................................................................18
33 Transfer between magistrates in the same area ....................................................18
34 A cause may be reported for transfer ...................................................................18
35 Transfer of cases by the Senior Magistrate ..........................................................19
36 Effect of an order of transfer ................................................................................19
37 Judgment may be entered in High Court on a judgment of a magistrate’s

court......................................................................................................................20

PART V - APPEALS FROM MAGISTRATES’ COURTS AND CASES
STATED 20
38 Powers of judge in relation to Senior Magistrate’s Court ....................................20
39 Civil appeals.........................................................................................................20
40 Conditions precedent to appeal ............................................................................21
41 Power to reserve question of law for the opinion of the High Court ...................21
42 Discretionary power to entertain appeals .............................................................21
43 Criminal appeals...................................................................................................21

PART VI - APPELLATE JURISDICTION AND REVISIONAL
POWERS OF MAGISTRATES’ COURTS 22
44 Appellate jurisdiction and revisional powers of magistrates’ courts....................22

PART VII - REVISION OF DECISIONS OF MAGISTRATES 22
45 Monthly lists of criminal cases.............................................................................22
46 Power to revise decisions of magistrates and Senior Magistrate .........................22
47 Reports by magistrates .........................................................................................24

PART VIII - SITTINGS OF THE COURT 24
48 Place for sittings of magistrates’ courts ...............................................................24
49 Time for sittings ...................................................................................................24
50 Nature of business at any sitting...........................................................................25
51 Adjournments .......................................................................................................25
52 Adjournment over Sunday or public holiday .......................................................25

PART IX - PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE OF THE COURTS 25
53 Practice and procedure .........................................................................................25

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Arrangement of Sections





2008 Revised Edition


Page 5



54 Completion by magistrate of process begun by his predecessor.......................... 25
55 Process of magistrate valid throughout Tuvalu.................................................... 26
56 Issue of process .................................................................................................... 26
57 Duty of Police Force to obey magistrates ............................................................ 26
58 Language of the magistrates’ courts and interpretation ....................................... 26

PART X - EVIDENCE 27
59 Summoning witnesses.......................................................................................... 27
60 Penalty for non-attendance of persons summoned .............................................. 27
61 Refusal to be sworn or to give evidence .............................................................. 27
62 Bystander may be required to give evidence ....................................................... 28
63 Prisoners may be brought up in order to give evidence ....................................... 28
64 Allowances to witnesses ...................................................................................... 28
65 How allowances defrayed .................................................................................... 28
66 Inspection............................................................................................................. 28
67 No person entitled to inspection of the record of evidence.................................. 29
68 Recording evidence before a magistrate’s court .................................................. 29

PART XI - PROTECTION OF MAGISTRATES, JUSTICES OF THE
PEACE AND OFFICERS OF THE MAGISTRATE’S COURT 29
69 Protection of magistrates, justices of the peace and other officers ...................... 29

PART XII - MISCELLANEOUS 30
70 Representation of Crown, public officers in their official capacity and

departments of the Government........................................................................... 30
71 Employment of legal practitioners....................................................................... 30
72 Fees and costs ...................................................................................................... 30
73 By whom fees and costs payable ......................................................................... 30
74 All fees and moneys received in magistrates’ courts to be subject to

foregoing provisions ............................................................................................ 31
75 Rules of court....................................................................................................... 31
76 Saving .................................................................................................................. 31

Supporting Documents

ENDNOTES 32

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 1





2008 Revised Edition


Page 7



MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT


AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONSTITUTION OF A SENIOR
MAGISTRATE’S COURT AND MAGISTRATES’ COURTS, FOR THE

APPOINTMENT OF MAGISTRATES AND OTHER OFFICERS OF SUCH
COURTS AND OF JUSTICES OF THE PEACE, AND FOR THE

REGULATION OF THEIR DUTIES AND JURISDICTION, AND FOR
APPEALS FROM SUCH COURTS AND FOR CERTAIN APPELLATE

JURISDICTION AND REVISIONAL POWERS OF SUCH COURTS, AND
FOR MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH1

Commencement [14th October 1963]

PART I – PRELIMINARY

1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Magistrates’ Courts Act.

2 Interpretation
(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires —

“bailiff” means a person appointed to be a bailiff pursuant to section 17 and
includes any assistant bailiff or any other person assisting a bailiff in the
performance of his duties;

“cause” shall include any action, suit, or other original proceeding between a
plaintiff and a defendant and any criminal proceeding;

“cause of action” in suits founded on contract shall not necessarily mean the
whole cause of action; but a cause of action shall be deemed to have arisen

Section 2 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 8




within the jurisdiction if the contract was made therein, though the breach
may have occurred elsewhere, and also if the breach occurred within the
jurisdiction, though the contract may have been made elsewhere;

“clerk of court” and “clerk” means any person appointed to be a clerk of
court pursuant to section 14 and includes any assistant clerk and any other
person assisting a clerk in the performance of his duties;

“criminal” includes quasi-criminal, and with reference to matters of
jurisdiction, comprehends all such matters not falling within the term “civil”;

“island court” means an island court established under the Island Courts
Act;2

“judgment” and “decree” shall be deemed synonymous terms;

“lands court” means any court established by the Native Lands Act;3

“legal practitioner” means any person entitled to practise in the High Court
in accordance with section 80 of the Constitution;

“magistrate” means any person appointed to hold a magistrate’s court under
section 7 or under section 9;

“matter” includes every proceeding in a court not in a cause;

“rules of court” means rules of court made under the provisions of section
75;

“Senior Magistrate” means the Senior Magistrate for the time being
appointed under section 7(1);

“Sheriff” means any person for the time being acting as Sheriff of the High
Court and includes any deputy sheriff or under sheriff and any person
lawfully authorised to execute the process of the High Court or any
magistrates’ court;

“suit” includes action, and means a civil proceeding commenced by writ of
summons or in such other manner as may be prescribed by rules of court, and
does not include a criminal proceeding.

(2) References to “magistrate” or to “magistrates’ courts” or to “magistrate’s
court” shall in this and any other Act, unless otherwise specified or the
context necessarily otherwise requires, include reference to the Senior
Magistrate’s Court or to the Senior Magistrate, as the case may be.

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 3





2008 Revised Edition


Page 9



PART II - CONSTITUTION OF THE COURTS

3 Establishment of the Senior Magistrate’s Court and magistrates’ courts
(1) There shall be and there are hereby established in Tuvalu courts having

summary jurisdiction, and such appellate jurisdiction as may be conferred by
this or any other Act, and such courts shall be known respectively as the
Senior Magistrate’s Court and magistrates’ courts and shall be subordinate to
the High Court and shall be presided over as respects the Senior Magistrate’s
Court by a Senior Magistrate and as respects magistrates’ courts by
magistrates appointed under this Act and such courts, subject to the provisions
of any other Act, shall exercise jurisdiction as is by this Act prescribed.

(2) A magistrate’s court shall be deemed to be constituted whenever a magistrate
exercises any jurisdiction, power, authority, function or discretion vested in a
magistrate by any law and the Senior Magistrate’s Court shall be deemed to
be constituted whenever the Senior Magistrate exercises any jurisdiction,
power, authority, function or discretion vested in the Senior Magistrate’s
Court or conferred on the Senior Magistrate by any law.

(3) Any power, authority, function or discretion vested in a magistrate’s court by
this or any other Act or law shall be possessed and may be exercised by a
magistrate having adequate jurisdiction.

(4) Every magistrate’s court shall be a Court of Record.

4 Territorial jurisdiction of magistrate’s courts
Subject to any express provisions of this or any other Act every magistrate’s court
shall exercise jurisdiction throughout Tuvalu:

Provided that the Senior Magistrate may direct the distribution of business between
such courts.

5 Seals
Magistrates’ courts shall use seals of such nature and pattern as the Governor-
General shall approve.

6 Contempt of court
The Senior Magistrate’s Court shall have the same powers as the High Court to deal
with contempt of its authority and such power shall extend to upholding the
authority of magistrates’ courts.

Section 7 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 10




PART III - OFFICERS OF THE COURT

7 Appointment of Senior Magistrate and magistrates
(1) Subject to subsection (4), the Governor-General may, by warrant under his

hand, appoint any fit and proper person to be a Senior Magistrate to hold the
Senior Magistrate’s Court and to exercise all of the jurisdiction of the Senior
Magistrate’s Court and every such person when so appointed shall have and
exercise all the powers and jurisdiction conferred upon a Senior Magistrate
and the Senior Magistrate’s Court by this or any other Act.

(2) Subject to subsection (4), the Governor-General may, by warrant under his
hand, appoint any fit and proper person to be a magistrate to hold a
magistrate’s court and to exercise all of the jurisdiction of a magistrate’s court
and every such person when so appointed shall have and exercise all the
powers and jurisdiction conferred upon magistrates and magistrates’ courts by
this or any other Act:

Provided that the Governor-General may, by the terms of any such warrant of
appointment, restrict the powers to be exercised by any person thereby
appointed in manner and extent, and thereupon such person shall have and
exercise the powers and jurisdiction conferred by this Act only to the extent
authorised by such appointment.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), the Governor-General may, by writing under his
hand, cancel or suspend any warrant of appointment given in pursuance of
subsection (2), or may extend or remove either wholly or in part any
restriction of the powers to be exercised, contained in such warrant.

(4) The Governor-General shall exercise his powers under this section in
accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission and subject to
the approval, either general or specific, the Chief Justice or a person
authorised by him for the purpose.

8 Territorial jurisdiction
(1) Subject to the terms of his warrant, every magistrate may exercise jurisdiction

throughout Tuvalu but may be assigned by the Senior Magistrate to any
particular place or places and transferred from one place to another.

(2) Notwithstanding any such assignment a magistrate so assigned may, without
special notification or appointment to that effect, exercise jurisdiction in any
other place or places.

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 9





2008 Revised Edition


Page 11



9 Special appointments
(1) Subject to subsection (3), the Governor-General, in case of illness, absence, or

incapacity of any magistrate, or for any other good and sufficient reason may,
by writing under his hand, appoint any other fit and proper person to hold a
magistrate’s court.

(2) Every appointment under the preceding subsection shall specify the powers to
be exercised thereunder, and shall define the area in which such powers are to
be exercised, and shall continue in force until revoked by the Governor-
General or by expiration of any time prescribed in any such appointment for
its determination.

(3) The powers of the Governor-General under this section shall be exercised in
accordance with the advice of the Public Service Commission and subject to
the approval, either general or specific, of the Chief Justice or a person
authorised by him for the purpose.

10 Procedure where magistrate is unable to adjudicate on any cause or
matter by reason of personal interest, etc.
Where a magistrate is a party to any cause or matter, or is unable, from personal
interest or any other sufficient reason, to adjudicate on any cause or matter, the
Senior Magistrate shall direct some other magistrate to act instead of such aforesaid
magistrate for the hearing and determination of such particular cause or matter, or
shall direct that such cause or matter shall be heard and determined in a magistrate’s
court in any other place.

11 Records and returns
Every magistrate’s court shall keep such written records and furnish such returns as
may be required by this Act or as the Senior Magistrate may from time to time
direct.4

12 Appointment and removal of justices of the peace
(1) The Governor-General may appoint any person to be a justice of the peace in

and for Tuvalu or in and for such part of Tuvalu as the Governor-General may
specify, and the Governor-General may remove any person so appointed from
the office of justice of the peace.

(2) The Chief Justice and every magistrate shall be ex officio a justice of the
peace for Tuvalu.

Section 13 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 12




13 Powers and functions of justices of the peace
Subject to the provisions of this and of any other Act, every justice of the peace
shall, subject to any exceptions which may be contained in his appointment, within
the area in and for which he holds such office, have —

(a) all the powers, rights and duties of a magistrate under this or any other
Act to —
(i) issue summonses and warrants for the purpose of compelling the

attendance of any accused persons or witnesses before a court;
(ii) issue search warrants; and

(b) such other powers and rights and shall perform such duties of
magistrates as may be conferred or imposed upon him by rules of court
made under this or any other Act not involving the trial of causes or, in
criminal cases, the holding of preliminary investigations.

14 Clerks of court
(1) There shall be a clerk of court attached to each magistrate’s court who shall be

appointed by the Senior Magistrate and shall, subject to the general
supervision and control of the Senior Magistrate, be under the immediate
direction and control of the magistrate for the time being exercising the
jurisdiction of the magistrate’s court to which he is attached:

Provided that in the event of the absence or incapacity of a clerk of court the
magistrate may appoint any person temporarily to perform the duties of clerk
of court or may himself perform any such duties.

(2) The Registrar for the time being of the High Court shall ex officio be the Clerk
of the Senior Magistrate’s Court.

15 Duties of clerks of court
The duties of every clerk of court shall be —

(a) to attend at such sittings of the magistrate’s court as the magistrate
exercising its jurisdiction may direct;

(b) to fill up or cause to be filled up all summonses, warrants, orders,
convictions, recognizances, writs of execution, and other documents
and to submit the same for the signature of such magistrate;

(c) to issue civil processes in accordance with the rules of court for the
time being in force;

(d) to make or cause to be made copies of proceedings when required to do
so by such magistrate, and to record the judgment, convictions and
orders of the magistrate’s court;

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 16





2008 Revised Edition


Page 13



(e) to receive or cause to be received all fees, fines and penalties, and all
other moneys paid or deposited in respect of proceedings in the
magistrate’s court, and to keep or cause to be kept accounts of the
same; and

(f) to perform or cause to be performed such other duties as may be
assigned to him by such magistrate.

16 Sheriff
(1) The Sheriff shall be charged with the execution of all orders and processes of

the magistrate’s court and for this purpose shall have the same powers,
authority and immunities as may be conferred upon him by the law for the
time being in respect of the orders and processes of the High Court.

(2) Every duty of the Sheriff in execution of any process of the court may be
performed by such police officers, or other persons, as may be authorised by
the Sheriff; and any police officer, or other person who is in possession of any
such process shall be deemed to be duly so authorised, and shall for all
purposes of such execution, and connected therewith, be an officer of the
court.

(3) The Sheriff shall not be liable to be sued for any act or omission of any police
officer, or other person, in the execution of any process which shall have been
done or may have occurred, either through disobedience or neglect of the
orders or instructions given by the Sheriff, or in the absence of any order or
instructions given by the Sheriff.

17 Bailiffs
The bailiffs shall be appointed by the Sheriff, with the approval of the magistrate
exercising the jurisdiction of the magistrate’s court to which they are to be attached,
and may themselves or by their assistants serve and execute any process issued out
of the magistrate’s court; and when so directed by such magistrate they shall attend
such court and obey all the directions of the magistrate for preserving order and
decorum therein.

18 Other officers
The Senior Magistrate may from time to time appoint such other officers as may be
necessary for the efficient exercise of jurisdiction by magistrate’s courts and may
attach such officers to any magistrate exercising judicial functions in a court under
the provisions of this Act.

Section 19 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 14




19 Transfer of officers
The Senior Magistrate may transfer any officer attached to any magistrate’s court
from time to time to any other magistrate’s court, either for temporary or permanent
duty.

PART IV - JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES’ COURTS

20 Powers of magistrates’ courts
Subject to any other provision of this Act and to the provisions of any other law for
the time being in force in Tuvalu, every magistrate’s court shall have and exercise
jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters as in this Act provided.

21 [repealed by 8 of 1987]

22 Civil jurisdiction
(1) The jurisdiction of a magistrate’s court in civil causes and matters shall be

limited as provided by this section and by any other law for the time being in
force.

(2) No magistrate’s court shall have jurisdiction in any civil cause or matter in
respect of which original jurisdiction to hear and determine the same is
conferred on a lands court by the Native Lands Act.

(3) The Governor-General in consultation with the Chief Justice may by order
limit the civil jurisdiction of magistrates’ courts in such manner as he may
think fit and such an order may make different provision for the Senior
Magistrate’s Court from that made for other magistrates’ courts.5

(4) Subject to any law for the time being in force, if in any suit or civil cause or
matter before a magistrate’s court the title to any land is disputed or the
question of the ownership thereof arises the court shall —
(a) where original jurisdiction to hear and determine such dispute or

question is conferred by law upon any lands court, transfer the dispute
or question to that lands court for adjudication or determination and
until such adjudication or determination (and if any appeal lies
therefrom the effluxion of the time within which such appeal may be
lodged and, if any such appeal is lodged, its final determination)
adjourn the suit, civil cause or matter wherein such dispute or question
arose; or

(b) where original jurisdiction to hear and determine such dispute or
question is not conferred by law on any lands court, if all the parties
interested therein consent, adjudicate thereon or, if they do not so

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 23





2008 Revised Edition


Page 15



consent, apply to the High Court to transfer such suit, cause or matter to
itself.

23 Law and equity
(1) [repealed by 8 of 1987]

(2) In exercise of any jurisdiction vested in him by this Act, any magistrate shall
have power to grant and shall grant, either absolutely or on such reasonable
terms and conditions as shall seem just, all such remedies or relief
whatsoever, interlocutory or final, as any of the parties thereto may appear to
be entitled to in respect of any and every legal or equitable claim or defence
properly brought forward by them respectively or which shall appear in such
cause or matter; so that, as far as possible, all matters in controversy between
the said parties respectively may be completely and finally determined and all
multiplicity of legal proceedings concerning any of such matters avoided.

24 Extension of civil jurisdiction
The Chief Justice may, by order under his hand and the seal of the High Court,
authorise an increased jurisdiction in civil causes and matters to be exercised by the
magistrate named in any such order, within the district prescribed in the order and to
the extent specified in the order. Such an order may at any time be revoked by the
Chief Justice by an instrument under his hand and the seal of the High Court.6

25 Criminal jurisdiction
(1) Subject to the provisions of any other law for the time being in force, the

Senior Magistrate’s Court shall have jurisdiction to try summarily any
criminal offence —
(a) for which the maximum punishment prescribed by law for such offence

does not exceed —
(i) 14 years’ imprisonment; or
(ii) a fine; or
(iii) both such imprisonment and such fine; or

(b) in respect of which jurisdiction is by any law expressly conferred upon
the Senior Magistrate’s Court or it is expressly provided that such
offence may be tried summarily:
Provided that the maximum punishment which the Senior Magistrate’s
Court may impose shall not exceed —
(i) a term of imprisonment for 5 years; or
(ii) a fine of $1,000; or
(iii) both such imprisonment and such fine.

Section 26 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 16




(2) Subject to the provisions of any other law for the time being in force, a
magistrate’s court shall have jurisdiction to try summarily any criminal
offence —
(a) for which the maximum punishment prescribed by law for such offence

does not exceed —
(i) imprisonment for a term of 1 year; or
(ii) a fine of $200 dollars; or
(iii) both such imprisonment and such fine; or

(b) in respect of which jurisdiction is by any law expressly conferred upon
a magistrate’s court or it is expressly provided that such offence may be
tried summarily.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding subsections, the Senior
Magistrate, by order under his hand, may invest a magistrate’s court, and the
Chief Justice, by order under his hand and the seal of the High Court, may
invest the Senior Magistrate’s Court and any magistrate’s court with
jurisdiction to try summarily any offence which would otherwise be beyond
its jurisdiction.7 8 9

(4) In the case of consecutive sentences imposed by a magistrate’s court in
respect of 2 or more distinct offences arising out of the same facts it shall not
be necessary for such magistrate’s court to send the offender for trial before
the High Court by reason only that the aggregate punishment for the several
offences in respect of which such sentences are imposed is in excess of the
punishment which it is competent to impose on conviction for a single
offence:

Provided that the aggregate punishment imposed in the form of consecutive
sentences shall not exceed twice the amount of the punishment which such
magistrate’s court is competent to impose in respect of one offence in the
exercise of its ordinary jurisdiction.

26 Special jurisdiction in certain cases
Where an offence over which a magistrate’s court has jurisdiction is committed or
any cause or matter arises in any vessel, such offence may be prosecuted or such
cause or matter heard and determined either by the magistrate’s court exercising
jurisdiction over the place where such vessel is at the time when such offence is
committed or such cause or matter arises, or by the magistrate’s court exercising
jurisdiction over any place where such vessel calls after such commission or arising.

27 General powers of magistrates
Every magistrate shall have power to issue writs of summons for the commencement
of actions in a magistrate’s court, to administer oaths and take solemn affirmations
and declarations, to require production of books and documents and to make such

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 28





2008 Revised Edition


Page 17



decrees and orders and issue such process and exercise such judicial and
administrative powers in relation to the administration of justice as shall from time
to time be prescribed by this or any other Act, or by rules of court, or subject thereto
by any special order of the Chief Justice.

28 Acts of magistrates not to be affected by error as to venue
(1) Subject to the provisions of any other Act, no act done within Tuvalu by or

under the authority of any magistrate shall be void or impeachable by reason
only that such act was done, or that any act, offence or matter in respect of or
in relation to which such act was done, occurred or was situated beyond the
area of the jurisdiction of the magistrate’s court exercised by him.

(2) If the defendant in any civil cause or matter, before, but not after, the time
when he is required to state his answer in such cause or matter, specially
alleges that any of the grounds referred to in the preceding subsection exist,
which, but for the provisions of that subsection, would be of force, the court
shall consider the same, and if there is prima facie proof thereof such court
shall report such cause or matter to the Senior Magistrate who shall make an
order directing where the cause or matter shall be heard and determined, and
such order shall not be subject to appeal.

29 Proceedings by or against an officer of a magistrate’s court
Subject to the provisions of section 10, any civil proceedings by or against any
magistrate or other officer of a magistrate’s court for any offence or matter
cognisable by a magistrate’s court may be brought in a magistrate’s court in any
other district.

30 Administration of oaths
(1) Every magistrate and every justice of the peace is hereby authorised to

administer all oaths which may require to be taken before him in exercise of
the jurisdiction and powers conferred upon him by this or any other Act.

(2) Any such oath may also be administered by any clerk of court or other officer
of the magistrate’s court under the direction and in the presence of a
magistrate.

(3) Every magistrate shall be a commissioner for oaths and shall have and may
exercise the powers by law conferred thereon.

Section 31 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 18




31 Jurisdiction of judges of High Court concurrent with that of
magistrates
No jurisdiction conferred upon any magistrate shall in any way restrict or affect the
jurisdiction of the judges of the High Court, but such judges shall have in all causes
and matters, civil and criminal, an original jurisdiction concurrent with the
jurisdiction of the several magistrates.

32 Reconciliation
(1) In criminal cases a magistrate’s court may promote reconciliation and

encourage and facilitate the settlement in an amicable way of proceedings for
common assault, or for any offence of a personal or private nature not
amounting to felony and not aggravated in degree, on terms of payment of
compensation or other terms approved by such court, and may thereupon
order the proceedings to be stayed or terminated.

(2) In civil causes a magistrate’s court and the officers thereof shall, as far as
there is proper opportunity, promote reconciliation among persons subject to
its jurisdiction and encourage and facilitate settlement in an amicable way and
without recourse to litigation of matters in difference between them.

(3) Where a civil suit or proceedings is pending a magistrate’s court and the
officers thereof may promote reconciliation among the parties thereto and
encourage and facilitate the amicable settlement thereof.

33 Transfer between magistrates in the same area
Where the Senior Magistrate assigns 2 or more magistrates to any area, any such
magistrate within such area may, at any stage of the proceedings before final
judgment, transfer, within the limits of such area, any cause or matter before him to
any other such magistrate and such cause or matter shall be commenced de novo,
inquired into, tried and disposed of by any magistrate of competent jurisdiction to
whom it has been transferred as if it had been instituted before him:

Provided that no cause or matter which has been specifically transferred by the High
Court for inquiry or trial by a particular magistrate shall again be transferred without
leave of the Senior Magistrate.

34 A cause may be reported for transfer
(1) A magistrate’s court may, of its own motion or on the application of any

person concerned, report to the Senior Magistrate the pendency of any cause
or matter which in the opinion of the magistrate exercising jurisdiction in such
magistrate’s court ought to be transferred from it to any other magistrate’s
court or to the Senior Magistrate’s Court; and the Senior Magistrate shall by

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 35





2008 Revised Edition


Page 19



order direct in what mode and where the cause or matter shall be heard and
determined.

(2) Subsection (1) shall apply to the Senior Magistrate’s Court as if reference to a
magistrate’s court were a reference to the Senior Magistrate’s Court and
reference to the Senior Magistrate’s Court were a reference to the High Court.

35 Transfer of cases by the Senior Magistrate
(1) The Senior Magistrate’s Court may at any time and at any stage thereof before

judgment transfer any civil cause or matter before a magistrate’s court to any
other magistrate’s court or to the Senior Magistrate’s Court, and such cause
may be transferred either entirely or in respect of any part thereof or
procedure required to be taken therein.

(2) The power of transfer shall be exercised by means of an order under the hand
of the Senior Magistrate, and may apply either to any particular cause or
causes, matter or matters in dependence either entirely or in respect of any
part thereof or procedure required to be taken therein, or generally to all such
causes and matters as may be described in such order, and in the latter case
may extend to future causes or matters as well as to such as may at the time of
making such order be in dependence.

(3) The Senior Magistrate’s Court may at all times cancel, alter, add to or amend
any order under the preceding subsection.

(4) The Senior Magistrate’s Court may, if it appear expedient, in the first instance
cause the contents of any such order to be telegraphed, and any such telegram
shall, until receipt of the said order have the same validity and effect as if it
were the said order.

36 Effect of an order of transfer
(1) Every order of transfer shall operate as a stay of proceedings in the

magistrate’s court to which it may be addressed in any cause or matter to
which the order extends or is applicable, and the process and proceedings in
every such cause or matter, and an attested copy of all entries in the books of
such court relative thereto, shall be transmitted to the court to which the same
shall be transferred and thenceforth all proceedings in the cause or matter
shall be taken in such court as if the cause or matter had been commenced
therein.

(2) An order given under section 34 or section 35 shall not be subject to appeal.

Section 37 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 20




37 Judgment may be entered in High Court on a judgment of a
magistrate’s court
(1) A judge, if satisfied that a person, whether resident in Tuvalu or not, against

whom judgment for an amount exceeding $40 has been obtained (whether by
way of claim or counterclaim or costs or otherwise) in a magistrate’s court,
has no goods or chattels within Tuvalu which can be seized conveniently to
satisfy the judgment, may, if he thinks fit, and upon such terms as to costs as
he may direct, by order under his hand and the seal of the High Court, remove
the judgment into the High Court.

(2) Upon the removal of a judgment into the High Court in pursuance of this
section no further proceedings shall be had or taken thereon in the
magistrate’s court and the judgment shall be entered in the High Court for the
amount due and payable under the judgment of the magistrate’s court together
with the costs as aforesaid, and a judgment so entered shall have the same
force and effect and the same proceedings may be had thereon as if it were a
judgment originally obtained in the High Court.

(3) This section applies to orders obtained in a magistrate’s court as it applies to
judgments therein obtained.

PART V - APPEALS FROM MAGISTRATES’ COURTS AND
CASES STATED

38 Powers of judge in relation to Senior Magistrate’s Court
For the purposes of this Part, in relation to the Senior Magistrate’s Court, a judge
shall have and may exercise all of the powers of the Senior Magistrate as though the
Senior Magistrate’s Court were a magistrate’s court and the judge were the Senior
Magistrate.

39 Civil appeals
(1) Subject to the provisions of this or any other Act, an appeal shall lie to the

Senior Magistrate’s Court —
(a) from all final judgments and decisions of any magistrate’s court in any

suit or matter before it; and
(b) from all interlocutory orders and decisions of any magistrate’s court

made in the course of any suit or matter before it:

Provided that where the magistrate’s court in question is the Senior
Magistrate’s Court, the appeal shall lie to the High Court.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1), no appeal shall lie, except
by special leave of the magistrate’s court or of the Senior Magistrate’s Court

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 40





2008 Revised Edition


Page 21



or of the High Court, as the case may be, from any order or decision made by
consent, ex parte or as to costs only.

40 Conditions precedent to appeal
Subject to section 42, neither the Senior Magistrate’s Court nor the High Court shall
entertain any appeal arising from any suit or matter unless the appellant has fulfilled
all the conditions of appeal imposed by the magistrate’s court or by the Senior
Magistrate’s Court or the High Court, as the case may be, or as prescribed by rules
of court.

41 Power to reserve question of law for the opinion of the High Court
In addition to, and without prejudice to, the right of appeal conferred by this Act, a
magistrate may reserve for the consideration of the Senior Magistrate and the Senior
Magistrate for the consideration of the High Court on a case to be stated by him any
question of law which may arise on the trial of any suit or matter, and may give any
judgment or decision subject to the opinion of the Senior Magistrate or of the High
Court, as the case may be, and the Senior Magistrate or the High Court shall have
power to determine, with or without hearing argument, every such question.

42 Discretionary power to entertain appeals
Notwithstanding anything hereinbefore contained the Senior Magistrate’s Court and
the High Court may entertain any appeal on any terms which it may think fit.

43 Criminal appeals
(1) Where by any other law, appeals in criminal causes lie to the High Court from

any magistrate’s court, such appeals shall lie to the Senior Magistrate’s Court,
except where such appeals are from the Senior Magistrate’s Court, in which
case they shall lie to the High Court.10

(2) In respect of every appeal in a criminal cause to the Senior Magistrate’s Court
from a magistrate’s court, the provisions of sections 281, 282, 283 and 284 of
the Criminal Procedure Code shall apply as if every reference therein to the
High Court were a reference to the Senior Magistrate’s Court.

Section 44 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 22




PART VI - APPELLATE JURISDICTION AND REVISIONAL
POWERS OF MAGISTRATES’ COURTS

44 Appellate jurisdiction and revisional powers of magistrates’ courts
(1) A magistrate’s court shall have power to review any judgment, sentence or

order of any island court within the limits of the district within which such
magistrate’s court is situated and shall have the jurisdiction to hear and
determine appeals from any judgment, sentence or order (including any
question of law reserved for its consideration by way of case stated) of any
such court and may for those purposes exercise such powers and authority as
may be conferred upon it by or under any law for the time being in force; and,
subject to the provisions of any such law, for all the purposes of and
incidental to any such review or the hearing and determination of any such
appeal, a magistrate’s court shall have all the powers, authority and
jurisdiction vested in the island court which dealt with or determined the case
under review or from which such appeal is brought.

(2) If any person considers himself aggrieved by the decision of any magistrate’s
court either in exercise of its power of review or upon any appeal, such person
may appeal to the Senior Magistrate’s Court and the Senior Magistrate’s
Court shall have like power, authority and jurisdiction as had the magistrate’s
court from which the appeal is brought.

PART VII - REVISION OF DECISIONS OF MAGISTRATES

45 Monthly lists of criminal cases
At the end of every month, every magistrate shall send to the Senior Magistrate,
either generally or in respect of any particular district, in such form as the Senior
Magistrate may from time to time direct,11 a complete list of all criminal cases
decided by or brought before such magistrate during that month, setting out the
names, sex, and age of each defendant, the offence with which he was charged, such
defendant’s plea thereto and, if convicted, the date of the conviction and the
sentence or order in full; and in the case of criminal cases decided by or brought
before the Senior Magistrate, the Senior Magistrate shall in like manner send such
list to the Chief Justice.

46 Power to revise decisions of magistrates and Senior Magistrate
(1) Upon receipt of the list referred to in the preceding section the Senior

Magistrate receiving the same may, if he thinks fit, call for a copy of the
record of any of the cases included therein and, either without seeing such

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 46





2008 Revised Edition


Page 23



record or after seeing such record, as he may determine, and either without
hearing argument or after hearing argument, as he may determine, may —
(a) subject to any enactment fixing a minimum penalty, reduce or alter the

nature of but not increase a sentence; or
(b) subject to any enactment requiring a particular order to be made, set

aside an order or modify an order in such form as he thinks fit; or
(c) set aside the conviction, in which case the person convicted if under

detention shall be forthwith set at liberty, or in the case of a fine such
fine, if already paid, shall be refunded to the person fined, or if security
has been required and given, he shall be freed from such security; or

(d) set aside the conviction and convict the accused person on the evidence
of any offence of which he has not been specifically acquitted and of
which he might have been convicted and sentence him accordingly; or

(e) set aside the conviction and substitute a special finding to the effect that
the person convicted was guilty of the act or omission charged, but was
insane so as not to be responsible for his action at the time when he did
the act or made the omission, and order such person to be kept in
custody as a criminal lunatic in such place and manner as the Senior
Magistrate may direct, and such special finding shall be forthwith
reported for the order of the Governor-General who may order the
person convicted to be confined in a mental health wing, prison or other
suitable place of safe custody; or

(f) set aside the conviction and order a new trial or a preliminary enquiry
before the magistrate who made the conviction in question or before
any other magistrate; or

(g) order further evidence to be taken either generally or on some particular
point by the magistrate who passed the sentence or by any other
magistrate, and order in the meantime any person who shall have been
convicted and imprisoned to be liberated on bail or on his own
recognizance; and

(h) make such other order as justice may require and give all necessary and
consequential directions:

Provided always that when a person convicted shall have appealed against
such conviction or any sentence imposed in respect thereof, or shall have
applied for a case to be stated by the magistrate under the provisions in that
behalf contained in any other Act for the time being in force relating to
criminal procedure or in any rules of court made under the provisions of
section 78 of the Constitution, the Senior Magistrate shall not exercise the
powers conferred by this section.

(2) When action upon the list as prescribed in subsection (1) is complete or if the
Senior Magistrate shall decide to take no such action, the Senior Magistrate
shall direct that the list be filed; but such direction shall not have the effect of

Section 47 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 24




preventing him or his successor from subsequently taking any action
prescribed in that subsection if he shall think fit:

Provided that 6 months after the last day of the month to which such list
relates the Senior Magistrate shall become functus officio in respect of all
cases upon the list in respect of which he shall not up till then have taken any
action.

(3) Proceedings under this section may be taken by the Senior Magistrate of his
own motion or on the petition of any person interested praying for the
exercise of the revisional powers of the Senior Magistrate and such powers
may be exercised notwithstanding that the relevant monthly list shall not have
been transmitted to or received by the Senior Magistrate.

(4) Nothing in this section contained shall be deemed to authorise the conversion
of a finding of acquittal into one of conviction.

(5) This section shall apply to criminal cases decided by or brought before the
Senior Magistrate and to a list of such cases as if references therein to the
Senior Magistrate were references to the Chief Justice.

47 Reports by magistrates
The Senior Magistrate and any judge may, whenever he shall so think fit to do,
require any magistrate to render to him, in such form as he may direct, a report of
any case civil or criminal which may be brought before him and such report shall be
rendered accordingly.

PART VIII - SITTINGS OF THE COURT

48 Place for sittings of magistrates’ courts
Magistrates’ courts shall ordinarily be held at such places as the Senior Magistrate
may direct, but should necessity arise they may also be held at any other places
within the limits of their jurisdiction, and in the absence of any such directions
magistrates’ courts shall continue to be held at such places as existing courts of like
character have been held.12

49 Time for sittings
Subject to the directions, if any, of the Senior Magistrate, each magistrate’s court
shall be held at such time as the magistrate exercising the jurisdiction of such court
shall deem most expedient for the despatch of the business thereof.

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 50





2008 Revised Edition


Page 25



50 Nature of business at any sitting
At any sitting of any magistrate’s court both civil and criminal causes and matters
may be heard, determined, and dealt with, or either one or the other.

51 Adjournments
(1) Any magistrate exercising the jurisdiction of a magistrate’s court may adjourn

such court from day to day or to any convenient day.

(2) If a magistrate is not present at the time and place appointed for any sitting of
a magistrate’s court, any other officer of such court or other person authorised
in that behalf by the magistrate, may, by public notice, written or oral, adjourn
the sitting until such time and to such place as may have been communicated
to him by the magistrate, and, in the absence of any such communication, to
such time and place as may be convenient; and all persons bound to be
present at the sitting so adjourned shall be equally bound to be present at the
time and place appointed by such notice.

52 Adjournment over Sunday or public holiday
When any day appointed for the sitting or any adjourned sitting of a magistrate’s
court falls on a Sunday or a public holiday, the sitting shall not take place on such
day, and the magistrate shall in such case, if practicable, attend and transact the
business appointed to be heard at such sitting as aforesaid on the day (not being a
Sunday or public holiday) next after the day appointed for such sitting.

PART IX - PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE OF THE COURTS

53 Practice and procedure
Subject to the provisions of any other law for the time being in force, the jurisdiction
vested in magistrates’ courts shall be exercised (so far as regards practice and
procedure) in the manner provided by this Act or by any other Act for the time being
in force relating to criminal or civil procedure, or by rules of court, and in default
thereof, in substantial conformity with the law and practice for the time being
observed in England in county courts and courts of summary jurisdiction.

54 Completion by magistrate of process begun by his predecessor
Where a magistrate has issued any summons or warrant or otherwise taken or
commenced any proceeding or matter, whether civil or criminal, under any authority
howsoever conferred, and subsequently ceases to act as such magistrate, it shall be
lawful for the person in whose hands such summons or warrant may be to execute or

Section 55 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 26




serve the same in the same manner as if the magistrate who issued the summons or
warrant had not ceased to act as such magistrate and any successor of such
magistrate, or any person acting for such magistrate, may hear, determine, execute,
enforce, and carry to completion any proceeding or matter so commenced as
aforesaid save that, except where otherwise provided by any other Act for the time
being in force relating to criminal or civil procedure, such magistrate shall
commence the trial of any such cause or matter ab initio.

55 Process of magistrate valid throughout Tuvalu
Subject to the provisions of any other Act for the time being in force relating to
criminal or civil procedure, all summonses, warrants, orders, judgments, writs of
execution, or other process or proceedings, whether civil or criminal, issued or taken
by or by the authority of any magistrate respecting any cause or matter within his
jurisdiction shall have force and effect, and may be served or executed anywhere
within Tuvalu by the sheriff, bailiff or the member of the Police Force to whom the
same are directed or by any other member of such Force.

56 Issue of process
All summonses, warrants, orders, convictions and recognizances, and all other
processes, whether civil or criminal, shall be issued or made under the hand of a
magistrate or, where so authorised by or under this or any other Act, under the hand
of a justice of the peace:

Provided that, where expressly authorised by rules of court, writs of summons and
other civil process may be issued under the hand of a clerk of court.

57 Duty of Police Force to obey magistrates
All members of the Police Force are hereby authorised and required to obey the
warrants, orders and directions of a magistrate in the exercise of his criminal
jurisdiction, and, in so far as such obedience may be authorised and required by any
Act in that behalf, of his civil jurisdiction.

58 Language of the magistrates’ courts and interpretation
(1) The language of the magistrate’s court shall be English.

(2) In any proceedings in any magistrate’s court in which the language spoken by
any witness or party requires to be interpreted into English, the magistrate
having jurisdiction in the proceedings may appoint suitable persons as
interpreters.

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 59





2008 Revised Edition


Page 27



PART X - EVIDENCE

59 Summoning witnesses
(1) In any cause or matter, and at any stage thereof, the magistrate may, either of

his own motion or on the application of any party, summon any person within
Tuvalu to attend to give evidence, or to produce any document in his
possession or power, and may examine such person as a witness, and require
him to produce any document in his possession or power subject to just
exceptions.

(2) Subject to the provisions of any other Act for the time being in force relating
to criminal procedure, in a criminal case a magistrate, in addition to the
powers conferred by subsection (1), if satisfied by evidence on oath that any
person can give material evidence and will not attend unless compelled to do
so, may forthwith issue a warrant for the arrest and production of such witness
before a magistrate’s court at a time and place to be therein stated.

(3) When any witness is arrested under a warrant issued under the provisions of
subsection (2), a magistrate may, upon the witness furnishing security for his
appearance at the hearing of the case, with or without a surety or sureties, to
the satisfaction of the magistrate, order him to be released from custody, or
shall, on his failing to furnish such security, order him to be detained until the
date of the hearing at which he is required to give evidence.

60 Penalty for non-attendance of persons summoned
If any person summoned as provided in section 59, having reasonable notice of the
time and place at which he is required to attend, after tender of his reasonable
travelling expenses to and from the magistrate’s court, fails to attend accordingly,
and does not excuse such failure to the satisfaction of the court, he shall,
independently of any other liability, be guilty of a contempt of court, and may be
proceeded against by warrant to compel his attendance.

61 Refusal to be sworn or to give evidence
If, in any civil suit or matter, any person, whether appearing in obedience to a
summons or brought up under warrant, being required to give evidence, refuses to
take an oath, or to answer any question lawfully put to him, or to produce any
document in his possession or power, and does not excuse his refusal to the
satisfaction of the court, he shall, independently of any other liability, be guilty of a
contempt of court.

Section 62 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 28




62 Bystander may be required to give evidence
Any person present in court, whether a party or not in a cause or matter, may be
compelled by any magistrate’s court to give evidence, or produce any document in
his possession or in his power, in the same manner and subject to the same rules as if
he had been summoned to attend and give evidence, or to produce such document,
and may be punished in like manner for any refusal to obey the order of the court.

63 Prisoners may be brought up in order to give evidence
A magistrate may issue an order under his hand to bring up any person confined as a
prisoner under any sentence or otherwise to be examined as a witness in any suit or
matter depending in any magistrate’s court, and the gaoler, or person in whose
custody such prisoner shall be, shall obey such order and shall provide for the safe
custody of the prisoner during his absence from prison for the purpose aforesaid.

64 Allowances to witnesses
Subject to the provisions of this or any other Act and to any rules of court for the
time being in force, a magistrate may, in civil or criminal proceedings, order and
allow to all persons required to attend or be examined as witnesses, such sum or
sums of money as shall seem fit, as well for defraying the reasonable expenses of
such witnesses as for allowing them a reasonable compensation for their trouble and
loss of time, but it shall not be lawful, in any criminal proceeding, for any person to
refuse to attend as a witness or to give evidence, when so required by process of the
court, on the ground that his expenses have not been first paid or provided for.

65 How allowances defrayed
All sums of money allowed under the provisions of the preceding section shall be
paid in civil proceedings by the party on whose behalf the witness is called, and
shall be recoverable as ordinary costs of the suit, if the magistrate shall so order,
and, in criminal proceedings, they shall, where not ordered to be paid by the party
convicted or prosecuted, be paid out of the Consolidated Fund.

66 Inspection
In any cause or matter, a magistrate may make such order for inspection by the
court, parties or witnesses of any real or personal property, the inspection of which
may be material to the determination of the matter in dispute, and may give such
directions with regard to such inspection as to the court may seem fit.

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 67





2008 Revised Edition


Page 29



67 No person entitled to inspection of the record of evidence
No person shall be entitled, as of right, at any time or for any purpose, to inspect the
record of evidence given in any case before any magistrate’s court, or to receive a
copy of the notes of such court, save as may be expressly provided by any rules of
court, or, in the absence of any such rules, unless the leave of a magistrate to make
such inspection or receive such copy has been first had and obtained.

68 Recording evidence before a magistrate’s court
(1) Subject to the provisions of any other Act, in every case heard before a

magistrate’s court, and at every stage thereof, the magistrate hearing such case
shall, save as hereinafter provided, take down in writing the oral evidence
given before the court or so much thereof as he deems material:

Provided that, should such magistrate, in any case, find himself temporarily
incapacitated from taking down such evidence, he may direct that such
evidence shall be taken down by the clerk of court or other officer performing
the duties of such clerk.

(2) Such clerk of court or other officer referred to in the preceding subsection
shall take down in writing the oral evidence in manner as aforesaid, under the
supervision and control of the magistrate presiding, who may, at any time
before appending his signature to such writing, amend anything therein which
he may consider requires amendment; and, before so appending his signature,
such magistrate shall peruse and examine such writing, and satisfy himself
that it is, in substance, an accurate and faithful record of the oral evidence
given.

PART XI - PROTECTION OF MAGISTRATES, JUSTICES OF
THE PEACE AND OFFICERS OF THE MAGISTRATE’S

COURT

69 Protection of magistrates, justices of the peace and other officers
No magistrate, justice of the peace or other person acting judicially shall be liable to
be sued in any civil court for any act done or ordered to be done by him in the
discharge of his judicial duty, whether or not within the limits of his jurisdiction,
provided that he, at the time, in good faith, believed himself to have jurisdiction to
do or order the act complained of; and no officer of any court or other person bound
to execute the lawful warrants or orders of any such magistrate, justice of the peace
or other person acting judicially shall be liable to be sued in any civil court for the
execution of any warrant or order which he would be bound to execute if within the
jurisdiction of the person issuing the same.

Section 70 CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 30




PART XII - MISCELLANEOUS

70 Representation of Crown, public officers in their official capacity and
departments of the Government
In any suit or matter in which the Crown or any public officer in his official capacity
or any department of the Government is a party or in any suit or matter affecting the
revenues of Tuvalu, the Crown or that officer or department may be represented by
the Attorney-General, a Crown counsel, legal practitioner or other person duly
authorised in that behalf by the Governor-General or by the public officer or the
officer in charge of the department concerned.

71 Employment of legal practitioners
The employment of legal practitioners shall, save as may be otherwise specifically
provided, be allowed in causes and matters, whether civil or criminal, before any
magistrate’s court.

72 Fees and costs
The fees and costs set forth in the rules of court made under this Act or any other
Act for the time being in force relating to criminal or civil procedure may be
demanded and received by the clerks of court or other persons appointed to receive
such fees and costs for and in respect of the several matters therein mentioned:

Provided that, in the absence of the clerk of court from any magistrate’s court or in
the event of there being no such clerk or other person appointed to receive such fees
and costs in any such court, the magistrate exercising the jurisdiction thereof may
demand and receive such fees and costs.

73 By whom fees and costs payable
All fees and costs payable under or by virtue of this Act shall in the first instance be
paid by the party applying for the summons, warrant, or other process or document
in respect whereof the same are payable:

Provided that no fees shall be payable by any public officer or public department in
any case instituted by any public officer when acting in his official capacity or in
any case in which the magistrate endorses on the plaint, information or complaint, as
the case may be, that it is a fit one for remission of fees on account of the poverty of
the party or for any other sufficient reason; and in every such case such fees and
costs shall, in the discretion of the magistrate, be recoverable from the other party, if
the decision be given against him.

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 Section 74





2008 Revised Edition


Page 31



74 All fees and moneys received in magistrates’ courts to be subject to
foregoing provisions
Sections 72 and 73 shall apply to all moneys received by a clerk of court or other
person appointed to receive fees and costs in any magistrate’s court under the
provisions of this or any other Act, whether the same be fees, costs, fines,
forfeitures, penalties or money paid into court for any purpose, or received or
recovered under or by virtue of any process of execution or distress.

75 Rules of court
The Chief Justice may make rules of court under this Act for all or any of the
following purposes —

(a) for regulating the practice and procedure of magistrates’ courts in
matters not specifically provided for in this or any other Act;

(b) for regulating the forms to be used and all matters connected therewith;
(c) for regulating the receipt of moneys paid into a magistrate’s court, or

received or recovered under or by virtue of any process, execution or
distress;

(d) for regulating the payment of moneys out of a magistrate’s court to
persons entitled thereto;

(e) for prescribing the books and forms of account to be kept or used in
magistrates’ courts;

(f) for prescribing fees, costs and amounts for service of process which
may be demanded and received by clerks of court and others in
connection with the practice and procedure of the magistrates’ courts;

(g) for prescribing for the acceptance, retention and disposal of fees and
costs;

(h) for fixing tables of fees and costs recoverable by legal practitioners for
their services on taxation and providing for the taxation of the same;

(i) for the better carrying into effect of the provisions and objects and
intentions of this Act.

76 Saving
(1) Nothing in this Act contained shall affect the jurisdiction of any island court

or lands court.

(2) Nothing in this Act contained shall deprive any magistrate’s court of the right
to observe and enforce the observance, or shall deprive any person of the
benefit, of any native law or custom, such law or custom not being repugnant
to natural justice, equity, and good conscience, not incompatible either
directly or by necessary implication with any Act or other law for the time
being in force in Tuvalu.

ENDNOTES CAP. 7.36 Magistrates’ Courts Act





2008 Revised Edition Page 32




ENDNOTES


1 1990 Revised Edition, Cap. 2 - Acts 5 of 1963, 7 of 1965, 10 of 1965, 10 of 1967, 8 of 1968, 3 of

1969, 3 of 1972, 13 of 1972, 7 of 1974, 5 of 1975, 1 of 1982, 8 of 1987, 9 of 1987, 4 of 1989;
LNs 29/1963, 16/1972,

Amended by LN 2/1988, GN 13/1996, LN 8/2004, LN 6/2007
2 Cap. 7.32
3 Cap. 46.20
4 Direction under section 11 as to records to be kept and returns to be furnished by magistrates’

courts (LN 44/1963) -
“Each magistrate’s court shall, subject to the express provisions of this or any other Act for

the time being in force, and to the terms of any direction made under section 45, keep written
records and shall furnish returns in respect of all proceedings before it in like form and
manner to those kept or furnished before 14th October 1963, as the case may be, in respect of
proceedings before the High Court.”

5 Order under section 22(3) to limit civil jurisdiction (LN 2/1988) -

“1. A Magistrate’s court shall not have jurisdiction in an action where the value of the
property, debt, demand or damage claimed is greater than $500, whether on balance
of account or otherwise.

2. A Senior Magistrate’s Court shall not have civil jurisdiction in an action where the
value of the property, debt, demand or damage claimed is greater than $10,000,
whether or balance of account or otherwise.”

6 Order under section 24 increasing civil jurisdiction (LN 47/1922) -
“The person for the time being holding the office of Senior Magistrate shall have jurisdiction

to make adoption orders and such jurisdiction may be exercised within every district.”
7 Order under section 25 (3) increasing criminal jurisdiction (LN 2/1975) -

“Subject to the provisions of section 25(3) —
1. All magistrates’ courts shall have jurisdiction to try any offence coming within the

provisions of —
(a) sections 53, 82, 83, 89, 100, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 117, 124, 132, 133, 134(2),

136, 137, 145, 146, 176, 177, 178, 179, 226, 230, 233, 238, 240, 247, 249, 254, 257, 258,
265(b), 267, 268, 272, 273, 274, 275, 280, 282, 295, 301, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307,
308(2), 318, 319(1), 322, 323, 348, 365, 367 and 372 of the Penal Code;

(b) sections 4(2) (a) (ii), 7, 10(6), 10(7), 14, 23, 27 and 30 of the Arms and Ammunition
Act;

(c) any offence within the jurisdiction of an island court from time to time; and
(d) the Passports Act.

2. The Senior Magistrate’s Court shall, in addition to those offences specified in paragraph 1,
have jurisdiction to try any offence coming within the provisions of —
sections 116(a), 129, 134 (1), 151, 214, 216, 217, 218, 219, 286, 287, 292, 312, 319(2),

329(1), 335(1), 348(5) and 349 of the Penal Code.”

Magistrates’ Courts Act CAP. 7.36 ENDNOTES





2008 Revised Edition


Page 33




8 By GN 13/1996 the Chief Justice invested all magistrates’ courts with jurisdiction to try

summarily the following offences under the penal code —
s. 291 sacrilege
s. 292 burglary
s. 293 housebreaking
s. 294 house-breaking with intent to commit felony
s. 295 being found by night armed or in possession of housebreaking implements
s. 334 forgery of other documents with intent to defraud or deceive a misdemeanour
s. 336 uttering

9 By LN 8/2004 the Chief Justice invested the Senior Magistrate’s Court with jurisdiction to try
summary offences under the Fisheries Act and to impose fines provided for under the Fisheries
Act which would be otherwise beyond its jurisdiction

10 Amended by Act 9 of 1987
11 Directions under section 45 as to the manner of making monthly returns of criminal cases (LN

45/1963) -
“The list to be sent by every magistrate shall be in the following form -

RETURN OF CRIMINAL CASES HELD DURING MONTH OF .................. 20....... AS
REQUIRED BY SECTION 45 OF THE MAGISTRATES’ COURTS ACT

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Number
of case

Name of
Prosecutor

Full Name
of
Defendant

Sex of
Defendant

Age of
Defendant

Offence
with
which
Defendant
charged

Plea Finding Date of
Finding

Sentence
imposed
or other
order

Remark
s if any
(includi
ng date
any
fine
paid)



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

.......................................................................... Place

Date .......................................................................................
12 SITTINGS OF THE MAGISTRATE’S COURT (LN 6/2007)
The Senior Magistrate directed that sittings of the Magistrates’ Courts shall be held at Vaiaku in

the Old PWD Complex.
Read Entire Law on tuvalu-legislation.tv