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English Law in Malaysia

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Common Law is a major part of many States, especially Commonwealth countries. The common law is based on the principle of deciding cases by reference to previous judicial decisions, rather than to written statutes drafted by legislative bodies. The decisions came from English Common Law courts and are essential case law made by English judges. It is based on tradition, past practices and legal precedents set by courts through interpretation of statues, legal legislation, and past rules.

The existence on English Common Law assists judge to decide cases when Statute is not adequate to cover the situation. Section 5 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that English law shall be applied in cases where no specific legislation has been enacted. However, only the relevant part which is suited to the local needs and circumstances applies. Consequently not all English laws are applicable in Malaysia. This can be look at the formation of Malaysian law is not totally by English law indicating that not all English laws are applicable in Malaysia.

The application of English Common law could be illustrated by the situation when there is no law governing by a particular circumstances, Malaysia case law can be applied. If there is no Malaysian case law, English case law can be applied. In the case “Commonwealth of Australia v. Midford (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd”, it was held that the doctrine of sovereign or crown immunity which was developed in English Common Law after 1956 should apply in Malaysia. It was said that any developments in English Common Law after 1956 should apply in Malaysia.

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