Hierarchy of Courts in Bangladesh

Hierarchy of Courts in Bangladesh
Hierarchy of Courts in Bangladesh

Hierarchy of Courts in Bangladesh

There are two divisions of the courts of Bangladesh.

A. Supreme Court of Bangladesh
B. Subordinate Court (also known as, District Courts or Lower Courts)


A. The Supreme Court of Bangladesh

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh or Bangladesh Supreme Court: This is the highest court of the country, within the court, there are two divisions.


The Appellate Division:

The Appellate Division is chaired by The honourable Chief justice and seven other judges, the supreme court has no original jurisdiction, The court is empowered by two sources. 1. The Constitution of the people’s republic of Bangladesh and 2. by statutory laws.


Constitutional Power of Appellate Division:

Under Article 103 of Bangladesh Constitution (hereinafter mentioned as “BDC”) the Court can deal with the issues where:

  • There is a substantial question of law to the interpretation of the constitution.
  • Where High Court Division (hereinafter mentioned as “HCD”) sentenced a person to death or imprisonment for life or,
  • Where High Court Division punished a person for its contempt.


Under Article 104 of BDC the court can order any authority for the complete justice on any issue that is presented before it or by Its discretionary power. This power is also commonly known as Suo Motu power in law. Judges of the Appellate Division can notice any issue that he/she thinks need to be more just he/she may pass an order empowered by this Article of BDC.

Article 105 of the BDC empowers the appellate division to review its own judgement or order where the issue is 1. subject to the provisions of an Act of parliament; and subject to the rules made by the Appellate Division.

Article 106 empowers the Appellate division to provide Advisory Jurisdiction where the president of the people’s republic of Bangladesh seeks the opinion of the court.

Powers conferred on Appellate Division by other laws: for example, Section 6 A of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1980 provides that appeal may be preferred to the Appellate Division against the decision of the Administrative Tribunal.


The High Court Division:

High Court Division consists of Eighty Two Judges.  Like the Appellate Division, the High Court Division has empowered by two sources and they have various kinds of jurisdiction. Here is a snap what the do and their classification.


Constitutional Jurisdiction: 

The Constitution (BDC) has conferred the HCD three Jurisdictions.

  • Write Jurisdiction; under Article 102
  • Jurisdiction as to Superintendence and control over (lower) courts; it can also apply Suo Moto as like the Appellate Division under Article 109
  • Jurisdiction to transfer cases.

Ordinary Jurisdiction (by other laws)

  1. Original Jurisdiction: It can take new cases; those cases for which HCD is the lowest forum to present. for example The Companies Act, 1994, The Admiralty Act, 1861 etc.
  2. Appellate Jurisdiction: Where from lower court aggrieved parties can file an appeal to this HCD. For example, CrPC and CPC have many provisions that empower HCD as an appellate court for suits and cases. [Please do not confuse with Appellate Division with appellate jurisdiction]
  3. Revisional Jurisdiction: HCD can examine the decision of its subordinate courts. For example, section 115 of the CPC has conferred the HCD with the revisional power.
  4. Reference Jurisdiction: HCD can give opinion and order on a case referred to it by any subordinate court. For example, section 113 of the CPC provides the court with this type of jurisdiction.


B. Subordinate Court (also known as, District Courts or Lower Courts)

The subordinate court has various types of jurisdiction and classifications so it is quite impossible to mention them all but here is some useful information that will help to get an idea of the scope of subordinate courts.


Civil Courts under General Hierarchy

  1. The Court of The District Judge
    • Pecuniary Jurisdiction Unlimited
    • Do not try original suits
    • Have administrative control over the civil courts
    • Has power to try, transfer, withdraw any suit, appeal or other proceedings in any civil courts below the HCD (sec. 24 CPC)
    • Jurisdiction over probate and letter of administration.
    • Has revisional power
  2. The Court of The Additional District Judge
    • Similar to the power of District Judge Court except for administration power.
  3. The Court of The Joint District Judge
    • Pecuniary Jurisdiction Unlimited
    • Both original and appellate jurisdiction
    • A suit from this court as an appeal goes to the court of district judge if the limit do not exceed 5 lac, over 5 lac the suit goes to the HCD
    • Also empowered as The Small Causes Court.
  4. The Court of The Senior Assistant Judge
    • Pecuniary 4 lac+ and upwards
  5. The Court of The Assistant Judge
    • Pecuniary Jurisdiction of take 2 lac to 4 lac

This court has various jurisdictions and powers by a number of laws but the Civil Courts Act 1887 and the Civil Courts (Amendment) Act 2001 provides the following classification of courts. To know more please check our article on jurisdiction. visit: Jurisdiction of a civil court (with example) [CPC 03]


Criminal Courts under General Hierarchy

Basically, there are two types of criminal courts and some special courts and tribunals. According to section 6 of the CrPC Criminal Courts of Bangladesh are of two kinds.
1. Courts of sessions
2. Courts of Magistrates

The Court of Sessions; this court can be divided into two category

  1. Each in every district known as The Court of Sessions; and
  2. The Metropolitan Session courts in a metropolitan area that only covers the metropolitan area.

These two courts have a similar structure with under separate name.

HierarchyThe Court of SessionsThe Metropolitan Session Court
ASession JudgeSession Metropolitan Judge
BAdditional Session JudgeAdditional Session Metropolitan Judge
CJoint Session JudgeJoint Session Metropolitan Judge


The Courts of Magistrates: Under the jurisdiction of Session Judge there are Courts of Magistrates, like the classification of court of session there are two separate courts

  1. Each in every district under The Court of Sessions named as
  2. In The Metropolitan area under the Metropolitan Session courts

Their hierarchy is as follows:

HierarchyGeneralAt metropolitan area
AChief Judicial MagistrateChief Metropolitan Magistrate
BAdditional Chief Judicial MagistrateAdditional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate
CSenior Judicial MagistrateMetropolitan Magistrate
DJudicial Magistrate

Hope this simple presentation of the hierarchy of the courts of Bangladesh will help both the law students and others who are trying to understand the hierarchy. [Know more about criminal courts at Criminal Courts and Magistrates under CrPC]

Image View of Hierarchy of Courts in Bangladesh

Download the visual chart  (Big View PDF)

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Rayhanul Islam

Advocate Rayhanul Islam is the founder and Editor in Chief of Law Help BD. He is also a researcher. Critical thinking is his main focus. He is on a quest to bring positive change to the legal sector of Bangladesh. He promotes legal knowledge and human rights concept to the root level. e-mail: [email protected]

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