How The Central Authority Works In Malawi

Written by: Undisputed Legal Inc.

This article will provide guidance on How The Central Authority Works In Malawi.  The most popular way to serve papers abroad is the Hague Service Convention, which regulates the worldwide service of judicial and extrajudicial documents in civil cases. For Hague Service Convention signatory countries, litigants cannot avoid service according to the treaty. Malawi is one of these countries. To have your documents served in Malawi, it is highly recommended that you involve a private process service agency such as Undisputed Legal.  Click here for How the Hague Convention Simplifies International Process Service.

Malawi is a unitary presidential republic, with judicial, legislative, and executive departments making up the government. Service abroad involves exercising jurisdiction by the Central Authority in Malawi, which, like the majority of African nations, has a mixed law system. Statutory law, English law, customary law, and religious law are among its sources of law. As such, a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can help serve your papers according to the country’s different laws. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

The Judiciary in Malawi

Malawi is divided into the Northern, Central, and Southern regions. Each region is subdivided into twenty-eight districts, which in turn are subdivided into over two hundred traditional authorities and a hundred and ten administrative wards. The central government appoints regional administrators and district commissioners to oversee local government. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency

Judiciary leadership is vested in the Chief Justice, who doubles as a judge on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Rizine Robert Mzikamanda SC currently holds this office. In addition to the three tiers of general and special courts—the Magistrate Courts, the High Court, and the Supreme Court—there are specialized courts such as industrial courts and, on rare occasions, a constitutional court that hears cases involving the Constitution. By the Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, the highest court in the nation is the Supreme Court. With the authority and jurisdiction bestowed upon it by the Constitution or any other statute, the Superior Court of Appeal serves as the court of record. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

The High Court is established under Section 108 of the Constitution. The High Court has unrestricted original jurisdiction to hear and decide upon any criminal or civil case brought before it by any legislation. The High Court Divisions primarily involve [A.] civil matters not covered by another division;[B.] commercial matters; [C.] criminal matters; [D family and probate; and [E.]  revenue. It also evaluates all laws, government actions, and decisions to ensure they align with the Constitution. No court, other than the Supreme Court, may be created with superior or concurrent jurisdiction with the High Court under the present constitutional framework. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal that has had experience serving papers in Malawi is a vital facet of delivering papers in the country. Click here for information on How Service of Process Ensures A Solid Foundation.

Understanding the Central Authority

The Registrar of the High Court of Malawi is the Central Authority in Malawi. The Registrar must meet the requirements outlined in the Constitution to be appointed to the judge position. To initiate actions in the High Court and conduct other proceedings, the Chief Justice may designate specific locations as District Registries. Any Deputy Registrar may be appointed as the District Registrar of any district register by the Chief Justice. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

Any document that is required to be sealed by law must have the seal of the relevant District Registrar. The Chief Justice may, by rule or special order of the High Court, direct the District Registrars to administer oaths and to carry out the Registrar’s functions and duties about proceedings in the High Court. The judge’s decision on the matter is discretionary. Once the District Registrar receives the order to transfer the proceedings and any original documents filed, the proceedings will be sent to the Principal Registry of the High Court or another District Registrar as appropriate. Click here for information on How To Overcome Language Barriers in Process Service 

As specified by the Chief Justice, the regulations govern the process and practice for all cases and matters under their jurisdiction, as well as any related or incidental matters. All civil matters where the requesting member state determines that ‘there is reason to transmit’ a judicial or extrajudicial document for delivery outside of the nation are covered by the Convention. After receiving the documents, the Registrar will verify the authenticity of the papers and will complete the certificate that is attached to the Convention, indicating whether the service was delivered. Click here for information on How Timelines Are Important in Process Serving.

The Chief Justice may assign specific responsibilities to various members of the District Registrars’ staff as they see fit. The Registrar is responsible for controlling and supervising the way these officers carry out the duties imposed upon them. Consequently, service in Malawi can take up to four months to be executed if the paperwork is filled out incorrectly or information is missing. We at Undisputed Legal always aim to perform service as swiftly as possible and ensure that we serve papers according to the requirements of the Registrar for the High Court.

Civil Procedure in Malawi

Process service in Malawi can be complicated. Every document, whether it’s a warrant, order, notice, or mandatory process, must bear the signature of the appropriate official and be sealed with the court’s seal. This applies to both civil and criminal proceedings. If the document is issued or made by the High Court, it must be signed by the Registrar. If it is issued or made by a magistrate’s court, it must be signed by the judge. Any process, be it civil or criminal, issued or made by any court concerning any cause or matter within its jurisdiction shall be fully effective and may be served or executed anywhere within Malawi. This includes summonses, warrants, orders, rules, notices, and any other processes.

 It should be known that the mode and person specified for serving summonses or other processes (other than subpoenas) in Malawi may be used in any litigation before a court in Southern Rhodesia or Zambia. In addition to the endorsement or annexure, every summons for service should be appropriately certified. A brief description of the plaintiff’s claim or the remedy sought in the action must be included in or attached to every summons for service. Additionally, if the plaintiff is suing in a representative role, the plaintiff must indicate that capacity.

The defendant must appear within the time limit set by the court official who issued the summons, which must not be less than twenty-one days. This time limit applies regardless of any court regulations regarding the entry of appearance. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can help adhere to timelines for the service of process. They must address where all necessary processes, notices, and proceedings can be served or left for them. The appearance might be considered irregular if the address is not provided or is fictional or deceptive.

Any individual in Malawi may be served with a summons by the procedures and individuals designated by law whenever a summons has been issued requiring them to appear before a court in those countries to answer to a charge or complaint of an offense over which such court has jurisdiction. The magistrate must ensure that the summons was sent promptly and that the court issued the warrant. Only after this can the magistrate endorse the warrant. Once this is done, the warrant can be executed anywhere in Malawi.

Affidavits signed by the party receiving the judgment or another knowledgeable party attesting to the fact that the sum for which the execution is intended to be issued or other proceedings are to be initiated must be filed in the court where the execution or other proceedings are to be initiated. Only then can the certificate be executed or other actions taken upon it.  Any court may accept such a certificate as proof of completion or any action is taken, such as an execution, concerning any such certificate. As a result, the appropriate official must promptly inform the proper official of the court that rendered the judgment. It is possible to establish service of any procedure issued in Malawi by a sworn statement submitted to an oath-administering official in the nation where the service was performed.

In a civil case, the serving of any document such as a summons, warrant, order, notice, or any other legal document can be done by an officer of the court, the attorney representing the party whose request for service is being made, someone working for that attorney, or an agent of that attorney who has been given written authorization to do so.

Notary in Malawi

In Malawi, a commissioner for oaths may be any lawyer with a valid license to practice law. The role of a notary public in Malawi is reserved for certain solicitors. If a lawyer with a valid license to practice law wants to also serve as a notary public, they must first apply to the Chief Justice for the appointment and certification to be a notary public. The attorney must have a minimum of seven years of experience in the field.

When deciding whether or not to grant a notary public certificate, the Chief Justice must consider both the need for notarial services and the current supply in the applicant’s area. A legal practitioner must have had a license to practice for at least three years before applying for the certificate to practice as a notary public. The Chief Justice has complete authority over the awarding of this certificate.

A notary public’s certificate to practice law may be revoked or suspended by the Chief Justice if the notary public either ceases to have the authority to practice law or fails to fulfill his responsibilities adequately. Any individual who pretends to be a notary public, accepts payment or benefits in that capacity without the proper authority, or carries out the functions of a notary public is guilty of a crime punishable by a fine of one million Kwacha (MK1,000,000.00) and six months in prison.

A notary public is an authorized attorney who can legally perform [A.] the witnessing of signatures and document executions; [B.] verifying that documents have been properly executed; [C.] verifying that documents’ contents have been accurately stated and  [D.] administering oaths and declarations.

Notary services are available by appointment only and are open to all nationalities. Unless otherwise specified, most notarial documents are intended for usage within the United States. Each notary seal that is needed will cost USD50 and may be paid at the Embassy or Consulate on the day of the appointment. Parties should proceed to the notary public with the whole, unsigned paperwork It is important to display a legitimate form of government-issued identification, such as a passport or driver’s license. The names on the identification and the papers submitted must match exactly.

The party should have the mental capacity to comprehend and sign the paper they are notarized. Consular personnel are unable to provide you with an explanation of the contents. Parties are responsible for arranging their witnesses if their notary service demands one. No one from the consulate can attest to this paperwork.

Power of Attorney in Malawi

One way to provide another individual the authority to act on their behalf is via a power of attorney.  The one who is granted the power is called the agent or attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney (POA) describes the person or entity that is the subject of the document.

The agent may have wide-ranging legal power to make choices about the principal’s assets, money, or health care, or a narrow-ranging ability to make certain decisions. Legally, one person (the principal) may grant another (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the capacity to act on their behalf (the power of attorney, or POA). Decisions about the principal’s property, money, investments, or health care may be delegated to the agent with extensive or restricted power. Powers of attorney (POAs) may cover both financial and medical matters. One or the other gives the attorney-in-fact broad or limited authority.

If the principal is unable to sign legal papers due to a temporary or permanent sickness or incapacity, this document might be used in their place. It is customary to have a third party witness the signing of the document in addition to both parties’ signatures in front of the notary public.

So long as the principal is healthy mentally, the agent is usually authorized to represent the principal in all financial and property concerns according to the POA contract. This agreement will terminate at the end of the term if the principal can no longer make choices for themselves. When the principal dies, revokes, or has the agreement declared illegal by a court, or when the agent cannot fulfill the duties assigned to them, the power of attorney ends. 

Signing a durable power of attorney is the best option for someone who wishes for their power of attorney to continue even if their health worsens. Even if the principal becomes physically or mentally unable, this will continue in effect; however, it will not continue when the principal dies. A power of attorney may be either financial or medical.

To provide another person the authority to make decisions about the principal’s health care, the principal may execute a durable healthcare power of attorney (HCPOA). A healthcare proxy is another name for this paper. It specifies the principal’s approval to provide the agent power of attorney in the case of a serious illness or accident. When the primary cannot make choices about their health care, this power of attorney takes effect.

If the principal cannot comprehend or make choices on their own business or financial affairs, a financial power of attorney (authorizes another party to do so. This is most clearly seen with companies that conduct business overseas. 

A power of attorney in Malawi is regulated under Form III of the Authentication Of Documents Act. The Notary public will have to attest to the registration of the Power of Attorney. Further, if they ask an administrative officer to attest a signature on a document for another person or a group, they must provide written proof of their capacity and authority. This proof can be in the form of a valid power of attorney, a copy of the company’s memorandum and articles of association, or any group’s rules or constitution. The administrative officer must also verify that the individuals present can sign the document.

Your legal case may benefit greatly from the assistance of a private process service agency, such as Undisputed Legal. Placing your trust in us might alleviate great stress about your papers. We keep you updated on the whereabouts of your documents in great detail. Our licensed process servers in Malawi will ensure your papers are delivered quickly and efficiently. Your legal papers will be handled carefully when you trust them with us. 


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