A Chief Magistrates Court is presided over by a Chief Magistrate who possesses a law degree. This court tries all cases except those (for criminal cases) whose maximum penalty is death i.e. a Chief Magistrate may also pass any sentence authorized by law except a death sentence. Thus they have limited original jurisdiction.
A Chief Magistrate shall have jurisdiction where the value of the subject matter in dispute does not exceed fifty million shillings and shall have unlimited jurisdiction in disputes relating to conversion, damage to property or trespass.
A Chief Magistrate exercises general powers of supervision of all magistrates courts within the area of his or her jurisdiction. In exercising his or her powers of supervision a Chief Magistrate may call for and examine the records of any proceedings before lower magistrates courts. They have appellate jurisdiction from grade I courts i.e. they entertain appeals from the Grade I courts.
Magistrate Grade I
These courts are presided over by Grade I Magistrates who must be qualified lawyers. They are ordinarily situated at the district headquarters.Their criminal jurisdiction is limited to offences whose maximum penalty is not death or life imprisonment.
Their civil jurisdiction is limited to matters where the value of the subject matter does not exceed twenty (20) million Uganda shillings.
Magistrate Grade II
Their criminal jurisdiction is limited to any offence other than offences specified in the first schedule of the Magistrates; Court Act e.g riots, unlawful assembly, abuse of office, deceiving witnesses.Their civil jurisdiction is limited to cases where the value of the subject matter does not exceed five hundred thousand shillings.