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General Information Courts 

Acting - ACEO: Ve'atauia Faatasi Puleiata    Email: executive@mjca.gov.ws 

Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal has a jurisdiction to hear and determine all appeals from any judgment, decree or order of the Supreme Court whether civil or criminal.

  • It also touches on matters involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation or effect of the constitution.

Supreme Court

Article 6 of the Constitution of Samoa lays down the establishment of the Supreme Court of Samoa. The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice who is also the principal judicial officer and responsible for its administration. There are also a number of Supreme Court Judges presiding in the Supreme Court.

  • It is the superior court dealing with the administration of justice throughout Samoa.
  • It has unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine criminal matters.
  • Its criminal jurisdiction deals with cases where the statutes allow for a maximum sentence of more than seven years imprisonment.
  • Has jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal appeals from a District Court.
  • A decision of the Supreme Court on appeals from the District Court is final unless leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal is given.
  • In its appellate jurisdiction, the Supreme Court reviews and determines errors which may have occurred in other courts of the state and interprets and expounds the law for the guidance of other courts.

For Civil matters the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to hear and determine any action where the debt, demand or damage, or the value of the chattels claimed, is more than $20,000.

ADC (Alcohol & Drug Court)

The Samoa Alcohol and Drugs Court (ADC) was officially launched on the 12th of February 2016 and had its very first sitting on the 16th of February 2016. ADC is led by Her Honour Justice Tuatagaloa together with the assistance of Her Honour Justice Aitken from New Zealand. This is a therapeutic Court and was designed to supervise offenders whose offending is driven by alcohol or drug dependency. The desired outcomes of the ADC are to:

  • reduce alcohol and drug consumption and dependency;
  • reduce re-offending;
  • reduce the use of imprisonment; and
  • positively impact on health and wellbeing.

District Court & Faamasino Fesoasoani (FF Court)

  • The District Court and its Judges are supervised by the Senior District Court Judge
  • The District Court Act 2016 outlines the duties of District Court Judges as well as the administration of District Court
  • Has the jurisdiction to hear and determine any action where the debt, demand or damage, or the value of the chattels claimed, is not more than $20,000.00
  • Claim: between $2,000- $19,999 tala
  • Criminal Jurisdiction: Power to hear and determine all offences with a maximum penalty of no more than 7 years imprisonment.

Other Divisions include of District Court...

Family Court

Family Court was established as a Division of the District Court under the Family Act 2014. It has jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings under any of the following enactments:

  • Infants Ordinance 1961
  • Family Safety Act 2013
  • Maintenance & Affiliation Act 2067
  • Divorce and matrimonial Cases Ordinance 1961
  • Marriage Ordinance 1961
  • Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act 2002

Youth Court

This is a Division of the District Court and is mainly for young persons (accused) aged 10 and less than 17 years pursuant to the Young Offenders Act 2007. This Court is conducted in a manner consistent with Samoan customs and tradition and in the Samoan language unless the young Person’s first language is other than Samoan. If the person’s language is not Samoan then English is the language the Court will use.

The Youth Court requires parents or guardians to be present and it has the power to summon them to appear. Proceedings are generally closed to both the media and general public. The only persons allowed into Court are:

  • Court officers
  • parties to the proceedings and their legal representatives (if any)
  • witnesses while giving evidence;
  • a parent /guardian of the young person;
  • an alleged victim.

Family Violence Court

Samoa passed the Family Safety Act 2013 which saw the establishment of a specialist Family Violence Court. The establishment of the Family Court followed in 2014 based on the Family Court Act 2014.

An integrated court model, the Family Court and Family Violence Court in Samoa attempt to combine criminal family violence charges and related to family matters.

Proceedings in the Family Violence Court may differ from the standard procedure in particular if there are vulnerable mothers, children or victims of family violence.

This Court is also a closed Court.

Coroners Court (special Court)

The Coroners Court is run by a District Court Judge. Parliament has just passed new legislation “Coroners Act 2017” to provide a coronial system to investigate sudden or unexplained deaths in special circumstances through inquires and inquests to help prevent deaths in circumstances…

Coroners Court is to hear inquests. The Coroner's Court provides a broad range of services to the community by recognizing the need to assist bereaved families to understand the coronial investigation process. The cornerstone of coronial inquiry is to provide a thorough and impartial service to the community when investigating the circumstances in which people die.

The Coroner’s Court is less formal than other Courts. It is not bound by the laws of evidence and is not too technical or legalistic. In making a decision the Court can also make recommendations to any relevant authorities that may result in changes to laws or practices in order to prevent similar deaths in the future.

It is not the Coroner's role to establish whether a crime has been committed or to find a person guilty of that crime. Nor is it the Coroner's role to make judgments about matters of civil liability.

Faamasino Fesoasoani Court (FF Court) part of District Court

The Faamasino Fesoasoani Court is presided by an appointed Judge of the Land & Titles Court. It has civil jurisdiction to hear and determine any action where the debt, demand or damage, or the value of the chattels claimed, is under $2,000.00

  • Claim: $1.00$1,999ST
  • Criminal Jurisdiction: Power to hear and determine all offences with a maximum penalty of no more than 12 months imprisonment or fine. Offences dealt with by this Court are usually minor offences and minor traffic offences.
  • It also hears and determines Land Transport Authority (LTA) matters.

About MJCA

Ministry of Justice, Courts and Administration

Mulinuu, Samoa

P.O. Box 49

info@mjca.gov.ws

Upolu Numbers:

  • phone : (685) 22671 - 74
  • Fax : (685) 21050

Savaii Numbers:

  • Phone : (685) 53514
  • Fax : (685) 53513
Please address all correspondences to the Chief Executive Officer / Registrar of the Courts.


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