Criminal proceedings are instituted in chief magistrates' court, Magistrate grade I and grade II. The criteria is as follows;
- A Chief Magistrate's Court may try any offence that does not carry a maximum penalty of death.
- A Magistrate Grade 1 may try any offence that does not carry a maximum penalty of death or imprisonment for life.
- A Magistrate Grade 11 may try any offence except those listed in the 1st Schedule of the Magistrates Courts Act, CAP 16.
- Criminal proceedings will be instituted in the Court with jurisdiction where the offence was committed.
- Offences that carry a maximum penalty of death are referred to as capital offences and are only tried by the High Court.