A Chief Magistrates Court is presided over by a Chief Magistrate who possesses a law degree. This court tries all cases except those (for criminal cases) whose maximum penalty is death- section 161 (1) (a) i.e. a Chief Magistrate may also pass any sentence authorized by law except a death sentence. Thus they have limited original jurisdiction.
A Chief Magistrate shall have jurisdiction where the value of the subject matter in dispute does not exceed fifty million shillings and shall have unlimited jurisdiction in dispute relating to conversion, damage to property or trespass; Notwithstanding subsection (1), where the cause or matter of a civil nature is governed only by civil customary law, the jurisdiction of a Chief Magistrate shall be unlimited.
A Chief Magistrate exercises general powers of supervision of all magistrates' courts within the area of his or her jurisdiction. In exercising his or her powers of supervision a Chief Magistrate may call for and examine the records of any proceedings before lower magistrates' courts. They have appellate jurisdiction from Grade I courts i.e.they entertain appeals from the Grade I courts.
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