The Court System
The court system is an essential component of the dispute settlement system in many countries. It provides a structured and formalized mechanism for resolving disputes and interpreting the law. In addition to administering justice, courts ensure the rule of law and protect individual rights. Courts also called court law include individuals or bodies with judicial authority to resolve civil, criminal, ecclesiastical, or military disputes.
Nepal’s court system is primarily based on a hierarchical system with multiple levels. The judiciary in Nepal is independent of the government’s executive and legislative branches. It is the courts that interpret and apply laws in the country, resolve disputes, and ensure justice.
There are three tiers of courts in Nepal, according to Article 127(1) of the constitution of Nepal
1. Supreme Court
2. High Court
3. District Court
As well as the hierarchical structure, there are also specialized courts that handle specific types of cases, such as; special court, Labour courts, Administrative courts, and Military courts.
1) Supreme Court
Nepal’s Supreme Court is the highest court in the country and serves as a final appeals court for civil, criminal, and constitutional cases. The Supreme Court is an important part of ensuring the rule of law in Nepal by interpreting the constitution. Here are some key points about it:
The President appoints a Chief Justice based on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, and other justices are appointed by the President based on the recommendation of the Judicial Council. Supreme Court justices serve until the age of 65.
The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction. Under its original jurisdiction, the Supreme Court can hear cases involving constitutional interpretation or public interest. Appellate courts review appeals from lower courts, such as district courts and appellate courts.
An important role of the Supreme Court is to interpret the Constitution. It has judicial review authority, so it is able to review the constitutionality of laws, government actions, and decisions. In addition to having a substantial impact on the legal framework of the country, the Supreme Court’s interpretations are binding.
Writ Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court can issue a wide range of writs, including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, and quo warranto.
There is a Constitutional Bench consisting of five or more justices, which hears only cases related to constitutional interpretation and matters of significance to the people.
2) High Court
Nepal’s High Court, also known as the Appellate Court, is a judicial body between the District Courts and the Supreme Court. A high court shall exist in each province, according to Article 139 (1) of the Nepalese Constitution
In addition to its appellate jurisdiction, the High Court also has original jurisdiction in certain matters. Cases involving constitutional issues within its region can be heard by the High Court if they are of significant public importance or if they involve constitutional issues. When the case has not been initially filed in the District Court, the High Court may exercise its original jurisdiction.
The High Court supervises the District Courts within its jurisdiction. Assuring that the lower courts are functioning properly and following legal procedures, it oversees the administration of justice in the District Courts. To improve the efficiency and quality of work of the District Courts, the High Court can issue directives or guidelines.
3) District Court
A District Judge is the chief judge of each district in Nepal, and the District Court is the primary trial court. It is their responsibility to resolve disputes related to property, contracts, family matters, and criminal offenses within their districts. For cases originating within the district, district courts serve as the first level of appeal.
District Courts are also responsible for executing their judgments as well as conducting criminal trials, imposing sentences, and handling civil cases like divorce, child custody, and inheritance. For cases within their jurisdiction, district courts may issue limited writs. Justice is delivered at the local level by these courts, and legal remedies are accessible.
4) Specialized Courts
According to Article 152 of the constitution of Nepal, there are specialized courts other than the supreme court, high court, and district court. Specialized courts include
1. Special court: A Special Court handles corruption and other related cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other relevant laws.
2. Labour court: In the Labour Court, disputes related to employment, labor rights, and industrial relations are resolved.
3. Administrative court: The Administrative Court deals with administrative and public law matters, including disputes arising from administrative decisions.
4. Military court: Cases involving military personnel and offenses related to the military are handled by the Military Court.