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THE NATIVE COURTS
June 12, 2014

The present Native Courts were created under the Native Courts Ordinance, 1992.  This Ordinance prescribes, among others, the constitution, jurisdiction and powers of the Native Courts.

The procedures of proceedings before the Native Courts is governed by the Native Courts Rules, 1993.

Causes or Matters heard by the Native Courts

The causes or matters heard by Native Courts can be divided into three main categories, namely:

i).    Breaches of Adat;

ii).   Native Customary Land (NCR) disputes and

iii). Applications from native to be identified with the native communities.

All causes or matters on Adat are heard in the first instance before the Headman's Court or the Chief's Court.  The Chief's Superior Court is the final appellate court for all Adat causes or matters.

With effect from 1 July 2005 most of the Native Customary Rights land disputes are heard in the first instance by the District Native Court.

The applications by non-natives to be identified with the native communities are heard by the Resident's Native Court.

The Native Court of Appeal and the Resident's Native Court are appellate courts in respect of civil cases and NCR land disputes cases.  The Native Court of Appeal is the highest appellate court.

 The Classes of the present Native Courts

There shall be the following Native Courts of original jurisdiction (the first instance courts):-

i).    the District Native Court

ii).   the Chief's Superior Court

iii).  the Chief's Court

iv).  the Headman's Court