The High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil and criminal proceedings under any law and such other original jurisdiction as is conferred on it under the Constitution or any written law.
High Court Criminal is governed by the Crimes Act 2009, Criminal procedure Act 2009, Sentencing and Penalties Act 2009, Domestic Violence Act 2009 and all other valid laws of Fiji.
All criminal cases, whether indictable (serious) or summary (non-serious) start in the Magistrate Courts. By virtue of section 4(1) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, all indictable offences are triable only in the High Court, for example, murder, treason, manslaughter, genocide, crime against humanity, rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Criminal trials in the High Court are conducted by the Judge being aided by a panel of 2 to 5 assessors. Assessors function like a jury, but the Judge have the final say whether or not an accused is guilty.
The High Court also hears any criminal appeals against any order, judgment or sentence by the Magistrate Court. It may also determine a question of law from the Magistrate Court via a case stated. In its supervisory role, the High Court, upon the Honourable Chief Justice’s approval/directive/report, may call for any record of any Magistrate Court Criminal proceeding to satisfy itself that any order, finding or sentence had been done in accordance with the law, and it may confirm, reverse, vary or make any other order, to do justice to the case.
In the criminal division of the High Court, there are four (4) major jurisdictions:
All indictable criminal offences are transferred from the Magistrate Court for trial in the High Court. Some indictable offences are triable summarily, and on these types of cases, the accused chooses a High Court or Magistrate Court trial. If he chooses a High Court trial, the case remains in the High Court. The Director of Public Prosecution’s Office furthers the proceedings by filing Information and Disclosures and trial is conducted in the presence of Assessors. Upon finding of guilt of an accused person, the High Court may pass a sentence that is authorized by the Sentencing and Penalties Act 2009, and/or other written laws.
This jurisdiction caters for the following applications; E.g. Bail application, an application for stay of proceedings, leave to appeal out of time, extradition, etc. Applicants are required to file their respective applications by way of Motion and Affidavit or by filing prescribed forms.
Cases for appeal from the Magistrate Court are filed under this jurisdiction; 28 days is given by the subordinate court to file an appeal to High Court; Appeals are filed against the decision of the lower court; Appellants are to file Petition of Appeal at the Magistrates’ Court for preparation of Court Records and determination of appeal.
A defining feature of this jurisdiction is that the Courts are vested with power (under section 260 and 262 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009) to revise the decision of the subordinate court upon the Honourable Chief Justice’s approval/directive/report, as mentioned above. This can be done on the basis of similar grounds for appeal or where a miscarriage of Justice is suspected.
High Court Criminal
Hon. Mr. Justice Daniel Goundar
Hon. Mr. Justice Salesi Temo
Hon. Mr. Justice Thushara Rajasinghe
Hon. Mr. Justice Shashikalum Perera
Hon. Mr. Justice Riyaz Hamza
Hon. Mr. Justice Chamath Morais
Hon. Mr. Justice Aruna Aluthge
Hon. Mr. Justice Sunil Sharma
Acting Hon. Mr. Rangajeeva Wimalasena
Note: Judges from Suva preside in Labasa.
Calendar to be updated here when dates are confirmed.
Petitions and Notice of Appeal from Mag - High CT Hearing Fees (1day), Application of Leave to apply out of time for Appeal. $109.00
Motion, Affidavit, 1st Reply to Affidavit, Defense, Reply to Defense. $54.50
Notices, Amendments, Late Filing, Notice of Appeal on Court of Review matters, Notice of Intention to Defend, Change of Solicitors. $21.80