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Do you know about Qatari Law system?

Qatar Law system

The other name for the Islamic System of Law is “Sharia Law.” The Holy Quran is the main source of its principles. Sharia Law is the chief source of Qatar’s legislation. 

The Sharia law enforced in Qatar applies to numerous aspects such as family, inheritance, and several criminal acts. In this article, we are going to learn about Sharia law enforced in Qatar.

How is Sharia Law enforced in Qatar?

Basics of Sharia Law

Akin to any other legal system, Sharia law also believes that “one is innocent until proven guilty.” Though, in contrast to other legal systems, Sharia law has specified punishments for crimes like murder, abandonment or refusal of Islam, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc.

Expatriates not excused

You must know that any foreigner is not excused or given any kind of benefit of the doubt if he/she breaks any laws of the land. You must obey the rules and regulations to evade being arrested, questioned, and asked to make a statement in Qatar. Do you know that all the testimonies in court are translated into Arabic?


Flogging is an acknowledged form of penalty recommended by Sharia law in Qatar. These kinds of penalties are used for crimes like illicit sexual relations or alcohol consumption. For example, the Sharia Law remarks you will get 100 lashes for being caught adulterous.

The penalties are more intense if the adultery is between a non-Muslim man and a Muslim woman. The crime is sanctioned by death.

Revealed by God

Do you know that sharia law was not written by legal scholars? Sharia law was disclosed by the creator of Islam, Prophet Muhammad in 570 BCE. Hence, Sharia is known as a religious legal system and contradicts the legal system created by western society sometimes.

Qatar Presents Western Laws

In 1916, Qatar presented western laws. It was the time when Qatar was affected by British politics. In 1940, Qatar got another important milestone in the discovery of oil in the history of Qatar. The Sharia law and the western law don’t overlap each other. Instead, they work hand in hand.

Sharia Court

Qatar has several Sharia courts including the Petty Sharia Court as the first and second court; the Grand Sharia court, which takes pleas from the Petty Courts; and the Presidium of the Sharia courts.

Basic System:

  • The Permanent Constitution was issued in 2003, defining the system of rule, organizing authorities, and establishing fundamental principles.
  • The Constitution emphasizes the role of Shari’a law, democracy, and popular participation in decision-making.
  • It confirmed Qatar as an independent sovereign Arab State, with Islam as its religion and Arabic as its official language.

Amendment of Constitution:

  • The Emir or one-third of the Members of the Shoura Council can apply for the amendment of one or more Constitution articles.
  • The proposed amendment is discussed in the Council, and if accepted in principle, it can be discussed article by article.
  • A two-thirds majority of the Council is required for the amendment to pass.
  • The amendment needs approval from the Emir and publication in the official Gazette to enter into force.
  • Certain provisions related to the rule of the state, inheritance, rights, public liberties, and the Emir’s functions cannot be subject to amendment.

Values of Justice and Issuance of Laws:

  • The Constitution guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, language, or religion (Article 35).
  • Qatar follows a dualistic legal system where international treaties and conventions must be implemented into domestic legislation.
  • The legislative authority is vested in the Shura Council, while the executive power rests with the Emir and the Council of Ministers.
  • The judicial system includes criminal and civil courts, a Supreme Council overseeing court functioning, and a Constitutional Court.
  • The Constitution affirms principles such as the presumption of innocence, the requirement for legal punishment, and the non-retroactivity of laws.
  • Shari’a law is a main source of legislation in Qatar.

Conclusion of Treaties and Agreements:

  • The Emir has the power to conclude treaties and agreements through a decree.
  • Treaties and agreements become law after ratification and publication in the official Gazette.
  • Treaties related to reconciliation, territory, sovereignty, public or private rights of citizens, or those amending laws require issuance as a law to come into force.
  • Treaties must not include secret conditions contradicting their publicized conditions.

Legislation in Various Areas:

  • Qatar has enacted legislation in various areas, including civil, maritime, penal, economic, commercial, anti-money laundering, trade secrets, and more.
  • Each area has specific laws regulating different aspects of society, governance, and economic activities.

The Qatari legal system upholds the values of justice and the issuance of laws. The Constitution states that all individuals are equal before the law, and there should be no discrimination based on sex, race, language, or religion. The legal system recognizes the principle of the presumption of innocence and guarantees the right to self-defense. It also specifies that crimes and punishments must be prescribed by law and cannot be applied retroactively.

The process of enacting laws in Qatar involves the proposal of bills by members of the Shura Council. Proposed bills are referred to the relevant committee for study and recommendation before being submitted to the Council. If the Council accepts a proposal, it is sent in draft form to the government for study and opinion. The draft law is then returned to the Council, where it can be passed with a two-thirds majority. The Emir has the power to ratify or decline the draft law. In urgent cases, the Emir can issue decree-laws, which have the power of law but need to be submitted to the Shura Council for review and possible rejection or amendment.

Treaties and agreements in Qatar are concluded by the Emir through a decree. They are then referred to the Shura Council with explanatory notes. After ratification and publication in the Official Gazette, the treaty or agreement becomes law. However, treaties related to reconciliation, territory, sovereignty rights, public or private rights of citizens, or those requiring amendments to the laws of the state are issued as laws and come into force accordingly. Treaties cannot include secret conditions that contradict their publicized conditions.

Various laws have been issued in Qatar covering different areas such as civil, maritime, penal, economic, commercial, anti-money laundering, trade secrets protection, and more. These laws are published in the Qatar Gazette, which is issued by the Department of Opinion & Contracts under the Ministry of Justice.

Judicial Authority in Qatar

The Judicial Authority in Qatar is established and regulated by the Permanent Constitution of the State of Qatar, as well as other relevant laws. The judicial system is organized into three stages: the courts of first instance, the courts of appeal, and the court of cassation.

According to the Constitution (Article 63), court judgments are pronounced in the name of the Emir. The judicial authority is vested in the courts of law as prescribed in the Constitution. Civil trials primarily rely on written pleadings and rebuttals, while criminal trials are predominantly based on oral arguments. Court proceedings are conducted in Arabic, but translators are provided for non-Arabic speaking litigants.

The Constitution emphasizes the independence of the judiciary (Articles 129-135) and states that judges are independent and should not be subject to any external influence in the exercise of their judicial functions. No interference with court proceedings and the course of justice is permitted.

The principle of the supremacy of law is fundamental in Qatar, and the integrity, impartiality, and honor of the judiciary safeguard rights and liberties. The law defines the categories and divisions of courts, as well as their jurisdiction and powers. Court sessions are generally public, except in cases where a court decides, for reasons of public order or morality, to limit public access and instead allow camera coverage. However, the pronouncement of judgments must always take place in an open session.

The Judicial Authority Law, enacted in 2003, further specifies the role of courts of law in society. It emphasizes the independence of judges and protects them against arbitrary removal from office, except in cases defined by law. The law safeguards the inviolability of judicial independence and protects the judiciary from interference by other authorities.

Additionally, various other laws, such as the Code of Civil Procedure, the Commercial Law, the Law on Public Prosecution, the Law on Appeal Procedures and Non-discrimination in the Criminal, the Act on the Disposition of Administrative Disputes, and the law establishing the Supreme Constitutional Court, further regulate and describe the functions and authorities of the judicial system in Qatar.

The Judiciary Supreme Council in Qatar

The Judiciary Supreme Council plays a crucial role in supervising the functioning of the courts of law and their auxiliary organs in Qatar. It was established in 1999 to ensure the independence of the judiciary. The Council is responsible for the following functions:

  1. Providing opinions on matters related to the judiciary and proposing legislation to develop the judicial system.
  2. Offering opinions on the appointment, promotion, transference, and retirement of judges in accordance with the law.
  3. Resolving grievances related to judges’ affairs, with the Council’s decision being final.
  4. Performing other functions assigned to it by law, as well as addressing matters brought to its attention by the President of the Judiciary Supreme Council.

The Public Prosecution, as another important body, conducts public actions on behalf of the people and oversees law enforcement and the enforcement of criminal laws. The functions and conditions of the Public Prosecution are regulated by law.

The judiciary in Qatar consists of several courts, including:

Preliminary Court:

This court has chambers that handle cases related to doctrinal provisions, punishments, criminal, civil and commercial matters, personal affairs, inheritance, administrative disputes, and other cases. Additional preliminary courts can be established in different towns based on the decision of the Judiciary Supreme Council.

Court of Appeal:

The Court of Appeal is responsible for deciding on appeals filed against sentences issued in cases related to doctrinal provisions, punishments, criminal, civil and commercial matters, personal affairs, inheritance, administrative disputes, and other cases.

Court of Cassation:

The Court of Cassation hears cases of objection for cassation regarding rulings and proceedings of the law. It has chambers to handle these cases and also includes a technical office responsible for extracting and publishing legal principles established by the court. These principles serve as guidance for lower courts.

There are also specific jurisdictions established in Qatar:

  1. Jurisdiction of Constitutionality: As per Article 140 of the Constitution, a competent judicial body is designated to settle disputes concerning the constitutionality of laws and regulations. The law specifies the powers, procedures, and consequences of judgments regarding unconstitutionality.
  2. Jurisdiction of Administrative Disputes of Laws and Regulations: According to Article 138 of the Constitution, a competent judicial body is specified to settle administrative disputes related to laws and regulations. The law defines its powers. The Supreme Constitutional Court was established in 2008 to handle administrative disputes.

Furthermore, Qatar has Shari’a Courts that handle matters related to Islamic law. The Shari’a Courts consist of various chambers, such as the Shari’a Appeal Court, Preliminary Shari’a Court, and others, which handle cases concerning marital affairs, major crimes, doctrinal provisions, legacies, and more.

Regarding military jurisdiction, military tribunals in Qatar have limited jurisdiction, except when martial law is in force. Military crimes committed by armed and security forces personnel are within the purview of these tribunals, within the limitations specified by law.

Overall, the judicial system in Qatar encompasses various courts, administrative bodies, and specialized jurisdictions to ensure the fair and effective functioning of the judiciary.

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Written by Sri Krishna

Sri Krishna is the accomplished eCommerce and retail branding expert, renowned for creating captivating content, building brand reputation, and fostering brand growth. With expertise in targeted marketing campaigns and exceptional customer experiences, Sri Krishna cultivates brand loyalty and recognition. Through innovative branding strategies, Sri Krishna empowers businesses to succeed in the ever-evolving eCommerce and retail landscape.

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