The Civil Procedure Act, which was ratified on 20th December 2022, has come into force in Maldives. The Act brings significant changes to the civil justice system, including the rules applicable to torts, public property and commercial cases. It is one of the biggest changes to the civil justice system in recent history.
The Act outlines the preliminary procedures for the trial of civil cases before the judicial courts, the procedures for the trial of such cases, and the rules of evidence applicable to such cases. It includes the procedures to be followed in deciding civil cases, enforcing judgment after trial, and other general rules concerning the civil procedure of cases brought before the judicial courts of the country.
It applies to all courts hearing civil cases, with the exception of those dealing with cases under the Family Code or other special laws on civil procedure, which will follow the special procedures prescribed in those laws.
Some of the significant changes:
- The legal costs of the successful party are to be paid by the unsuccessful party.
- Judgments in absentia may be requested for review.
- Resolve minor suits in a single day.
- If both parties agree, settle the case without a hearing.
- If the judgment is not complied with, the debtor’s property will be monitored by the court.
With the enactment of the act, three previous Acts and Parts 1 and 2 of the Rules of Procedure were repealed. The three laws repealed were the Inheritance Claims Act, the Trial of Claims and Cases by Persons Other Than the State Act, the Summoning of People to Trial by Keeping Deposit Act, and the Obtaining of Evidence by Message Act.