The Intermediate Court was established by Section 80 of the Courts Act. It is a court of record which has civil and criminal jurisdiction in all districts in such cases and matters and to such extent as provided by the Courts Act.
It consists of a President and such number of Magistrates as may be established under the Civil Establishment Act. At present, there are 12 magistrates.
No person shall be eligible for appointment to the office of Magistrate unless he is a barrister admitted to practise and has at least 2 years standing at the bar (Section 119 of the Courts Act).
A Magistrate is appointed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (Section 86 of the Constitution).
A hearing before Intermediate Court takes place –
(a) before 2 Magistrates, or
(b) before one Magistrate, with the consent of the parties, in such category of cases as the Chief Justice may, by directions in writing to the Court, authorise (Section 85 of the Courts Act).
In the event of a difference of opinion between 2 Magistrates, the trial shall be started anew before 3 Magistrates (Section 85(3) of the Courts Act).
Right of Audience
In any proceeding before the Intermediate Court, any party to the proceedings with leave of the Court and a person authorised under the Law Practitioners Act 1984 may address the court.
The Intermediate Court has jurisdiction in all civil cases where the sum or matter in dispute does not exceed the prescribed amount (Rs 500,000). (Section 104 of the Courts Act).
The Intermediate Court has criminal jurisdiction in all districts in matters which the Director of Public Prosecution may refer to it as provided by Section 112 of Courts Act. It can award against any person penal servitude for a period not exceeding 8 years or imprisonment not exceeding 5 years. (Section 113 of the Courts Act).
An appeal against any final judgment of the Intermediate Court lies to the Supreme Court. A notice of appeal must be given within 21 days from the date of judgment. [Sections 36 and 37 of the District and Intermediate Court (Civil Jurisdiction) Act; sections 92 to 100 of the District and Intermediate Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act].