- Last Updated on 09 September 2013
The High Court of Fiji was established by the High Court Act, Chapter 13. Pursuant to section 3 of the Act, it has the power and jurisdiction vested in it from time to time by the Constitution, the High Court Act and any other law for the time being in force. It has the unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceeding under any law, [and the power to interpret the Constitution]. It hears appeals and supervises civil and criminal proceedings in the Magistrate Courts, and other subordinate courts. It “possesses and exercises all the jurisdiction, powers and authorities which are for the time being vested in or capable of being exercised by Her Majesty’s High Court in England”. The above powers were continued by the Administration of Justice Decree No. 9 of 2009.
The High Court is the court of first instance for all civil cases where the plaintiff is claiming more than $50,000 in damages. Any citizen has the right to pursue any civil claim exceeding $50,000 in the High Court, after filing the proper papers.
The High Court has full chancery powers to grant any injunction or declaration that could be granted by a court of chancery. Petitions to wind up companies and applications seeking various company law remedies are heard by the High Court which has exclusive jurisdiction in this area.
The High Court has exclusive jurisdiction in the area of bankruptcy, but this is now delegated to the Magistrate Court, subject to supervision by the High Court.
The High Court has jurisdiction in Admiralty and can exercise jurisdiction under the Brussels Convention on the Arrest of Seagoing Vessels.
The Court also has the power of judicial review over the acts of government and other public bodies, including the decisions of all inferior courts and decisions made by tribunals of inquiry.
Employment matters are heard by the Employment Relations Division of the High Court.
Any judgement or order of the High Court sitting as a court of first instance may be appealed to the Court of Appeal save as provided for by statute.
Statutory Appeals on points of law and procedures can be made to the High Court from the Magistrate Court and various statutory bodies. Consultative cases on a point of law can be case stated to the High Court from the Magistrate Court, various statutory bodies or an Arbitrator hearing arbitration.