The legal system of Bahrain in 1993 was based on
sources, including customary tribal law (urf),
separate schools of Islamic sharia law, and civil law as
in codes, ordinances, and regulations. Sharia law includes
Maliki school of Islamic law (from Abd Allah Malik ibn
eighth-century Muslim jurist from Medina) and the Shafii
of Islamic law (from Muhammad ibn Idris ash Shafii, a late
eighth-century Muslim jurist from Mecca). Both of these
are recognized by Sunni Muslims
(see Sunni Islam
, ch. 1).
third school is the eighth-century Jaafari (from Jaafar
Muhammad, also known as Jaafar as Sadiq, the Sixth Imam)
of Twelver Islam, recognized by Shia
(see Shia Islam
Civil law is heavily influenced by British common law,
as it was developed by British legal advisers beginning in
1920s and continuing up to the eve of independence in
According to the constitution of 1973, the judiciary is
independent and separate branch of government. However,
highest judicial authority, the minister of justice and
affairs, is appointed by, and responsible to, the prime
The amir, who retains the power of pardon, is at the
the judicial system.
Bahrain has a dual court system, consisting of civil
sharia courts. Sharia courts deal primarily with personal
matters (such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance).
courts of first instance are located in all communities. A
sharia Court of Appeal sits at Manama. Appeals beyond the
jurisdiction of the sharia Court of Appeal are taken to
Supreme Court of Appeal, which is part of the civil system
(see Bahrain: Internal Security
, ch. 7).
The civil court system consists of summary courts and a
supreme court. Summary courts of first instance are
all communities and include separate urf, civil,
criminal sections. The supreme courts hear appeals from
summary courts. The Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest
appellate court in the country. The Supreme Court of
decides on the constitutionality of laws and regulations.
Data as of January 1993