Master of the High Court

The Supreme Court of Judicature Act, Cap. 117A was amended in 2006 to make provision for a Master of the High Court. Section 69A of the Act specifically provides that the Master shall exercise such authority and jurisdiction of a Judge of the High Court sitting in Chambers as is assigned by the Act or by Rules of Court.

Jurisdiction of the Master:

The jurisdiction of the Master of the High Court is found in the Supreme Court of Judicature (Rules of the Supreme Court) (Amendment) Rules – S.I. 2007 No. 57. In particular, the Master has power to transact all such business and exercise all such authority and jurisdiction as may be transacted or exercised by a Judge sitting in Chambers, including:

  • Applications for extension of time;
  • Applications for amendment of pleading;
  • Applications for leave to serve process out of the jurisdiction;
  • Judgment summonses;
  • Entering judgments by consent or confession;
  • Default judgments;
  • Interlocutory procedural matters;
  • Matters which may be dealt with at a case management conference;
  • Undefended divorce applications;
  • Summonses for directions during the transitional period.

The Master also has power to grant an injunction

  • in the terms agreed by the parties to the proceedings in which the injunction is sought; or
  • which is ancillary or incidental to a Charging Order.

The Master may also make an order pursuant to Rules of Court for the appointment of a Receiver by way of equitable execution and to grant an injunction if, and only so far as, the injunction is ancillary or incidental to such an order.

The Master may refer to a Judge any matter which the Master thinks should properly be decided by a Judge; and the Judge may either dispose of the matter or refer it back to the Master with such directions as the Judge thinks fit.

What matters shall not be heard by the Master?

The Master does not have jurisdiction to deal with:

  • matters relating to criminal proceedings or to the liberty of the subject;
  • proceedings for the grant of an injunction or other order under section 44 of the Supreme Court of Judicature Act;
  • applications for an order of prohibition, mandamus or certiorari or an application for a writ of habeas corpus;
  • applications for an order of committal;
  • appeals from the Registrar;
  • applications for review from a taxing officer’s decision;
  • applications under section 36 of the Act for leave to institute legal proceedings;
  • proceedings in respect of which jurisdiction is given by an enactment specifically to a Judge in Chambers and in which the decision of the Judge is final;
  • such business, authority and jurisdiction as the Chief Justice may from time to time direct to be transacted or exercised by a Judge in person;
  • any other matter or proceeding which by any of these Rules is required to be heard only by a judge.