Section 93 of the Courts Act established a court in every district known as a District Court and it is a court of record having limited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. It may sit in several divisions as directed by the Chief Justice.

Each District Court is presided by a Magistrate known as a District Magistrate (Section 94 of the Courts Act).

No person is 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.

Civil Jurisdiction

A District Court has jurisdiction in all cases where the sum or matter in dispute does not exceed the prescribed amount (Rs 50,000) (Section 104 of the Courts Act).

Criminal Jurisdiction

A District Court has criminal jurisdiction to try all offences except those mentioned in section 116 of the Courts Act. It shall not award against any person imprisonment with or without hard labour for more than 2 years and a fine not exceeding Rs 2000 (Section 114 of the Courts Act).


An appeal against any final judgment of a District 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 to100 of the District and Intermediate Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act.​