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COURT OF APPEAL

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Court Of Appeal

The Court of Appeal is established under Article 73 of the Constitution as a superior Court of Record. Except for Part IV of the Constitution relating to the Land and Titles Courts, the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from any judgment, decree, or order of the Supreme Court whether in its civil or criminal jurisdiction, as provided under an Act. The Court of Appeal also has jurisdiction to hear and determine appeals from any decision of the Supreme Court in any proceedings under the provision of Article 4 of the Constitution.

Judges of the Court of Appeal include the Chief Justice of Samoa, Judges of the Supreme Court, a Retired Judge of the Supreme Court and such other persons possessing similar qualifications as required for a Judge of the Supreme Court under Article 66, as appointed by the Head of State from time to time on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. The Chief Justice, and in his absence, the most senior Judge of the Court of Appeal, shall be President of the Court of Appeal. Any three Judges of the Court of Appeal may exercise all the powers of the Court.

Criminal Jurisdiction

In the Criminal Jurisdiction, and pursuant to the Criminal Procedure Act 2016, parties may appeal to the Court of Appeal, at any time before trial, against the making of any order or the refusal to make an order in the following matters:

  • Severance or joinder of charges;
  • Directing separate trials of persons jointly charged;
  • The admissibility or inadmissibility of evidence;
  • The amendment of charges;
  • The quashing or amendment of an information on the grounds that the information does not state in substance a crime or offence.

Moreover, the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear and determine:

  • Questions of law arising either on or incidental to the trial.
  • Appeals against conviction, sentence (except where sentence is fixed by law) and/or acquittal.
Civil Jurisdiction

In the Civil Jurisdiction, an appeal lies to the Court of Appeal from a decision of the Supreme Court:

  • as of right, when the matter in dispute amounts to or is of the value of ST$3,000.00 or more.
  • With leave of the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court if in the opinion of either Court, the question involved in the appeal is one which by reason of its general or public importance or the magnitude of the interests affected, or for any other reason, ought to be submitted to the Court of Appeal;

Questions of law arising on the trial of any action, cause or matter, may be reserved for a decision of the Court of Appeal, on a case stated and the Court of Appeal has power to hear and determine and read such question. Moreover, the Supreme Court may order the removal into the Court of Appeal proceedings relating to a notice of motion, or a petition presented, or a special case stated, or a question of law ordered to be argued and on removal, the Court of Appeal has the same power to adjudicate the proceedings that was held by the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal Rules, made pursuant to the repealed Judicature Ordinance 1961 continue in effect pursuant to section 26(5) of the Judicature Act 2020.