Law of Judicial Authority of Bahrain

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Taken from The Arab Judicial Forum

Law of Judicial Authority

Contents

Section 1: General Regulations[edit]

Article (1) The courts shall exercise judicial authority in accordance with this law.

Article (2) The judges are independent, with no mandate to perform their specialties in something other than the law.

Article (3) Court sessions are public, unless the court decides to close them in compliance with the general [legal] system or public mores. The announcement of a verdict shall always be done in an open session.

Article (4) The Arabic language is the official language of the courts. In hearing statements from plaintiffs and defendants who do not know the Arabic language, the courts shall use a translator who has taken an official oath to state the truth.

Article (5) Verdicts shall be issued in the name of the King of the Kingdom of Bahrain.


Section 2: The Courts: Composition, Organization and Jurisdiction[edit]

Part 1: Civil Judiciary Courts[edit]

Article (6) The Civil Courts are composed of the following: 1. Court of Cassation 2. Civil Higher Appeals Court 3. Greater Civil Court 4. Lesser Court

Each of the above has jurisdiction in settling all cases raised to their attention in accordance with the law in civil, commercial and administrative articles, as well as in disputes related to the personal affairs of non-muslims, and in crimes, save for anything exempted by a special clause.

Article (7) Except for the activities of the sovereigns, the Greater Civil Court has jurisdiction-through an administrative department-in settling administrative disputes arising between individuals and between the government or public institutions or organizations, except in cases where the law stipulates otherwise.

Article (8) Except in cases for which a special clause is in this law, the regulations stipulated in its laws are in effect for the Court of Cassation.

Article (9) The headquarters of the Civil Higher Appeals Court is located in the city of Manama, and is composed of a chairman and a sufficient number of deputies and judges. Verdicts are issued by three judges.

Article (10) The headquarters of the Greater Civil Court is located in the city of Manama, and is composed of a chairman and a sufficient number of deputies and judges. Verdicts are issued by three judges.

Article (11) The headquarters of the Lesser Court is located in the city of Manama, and is composed of a single judge. It is lawful, with a decision from the Minister of Justice and the consent of the Supreme Judicial Council, to establish lesser courts in the districts.

Article (12) It is lawful, with a decision from the Supreme Judicial Council, to empower the Lesser Court judge to hear a specific type of case from one or more of the following branches: criminal-civil-commercial-labor-executive. It is lawful to delegate the empowered judge from one branch to another.


Part 2: Shari'ah Judiciary Courts[edit]

Article (13) The Shari'ah Courts are composed of the following: 1. Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court 2. Greater Shari'ah Court 3. Lesser Shari'ah Court

Each of the above courts are composed of two departments: A. Sunni Shari'ah Department B. Ja'farite Shari'ah Department

The Shari'ah Judiciary Courts have jurisdiction in settling all disputes relating to the personal affairs of Muslims, save for disputes related to estate principles and their settlement, which are to be heard by the civil courts with specific jurisdiction.

Article (14) The jurisdiction of the Shari'ah Judiciary Courts is based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the plaintiff at the time of the filing of the lawsuit.

Excepting from the rulings of the previous clause, in cases involving marriage contracts, the jurisdiction is to be based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation guidelines under which those marriage contracts were promulgated, and this is limited according to the Shari'ah department or its authorized official who authenticated the marriage contract.

In cases where no authenticated marriage contract exists, or the marriage contract was authenticated outside of Bahrain and not ratified by any of the two departments, the jurisdiction is to be based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the husband at the time of the promulgation of the marriage contract.

In cases of inheritance, granting, wills, and endowments, jurisdiction shall be based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the inheritor, the grantor, the testator, or the endower.

Article (15) A chairman, deputy, and a sufficient number of judges for every department form the Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court and the Greater Shari'ah Court departments. Verdicts are issued by three judges.

Article (16) The Lesser Shari'ah Court is composed of a single judge.

Article (17) The Lesser Shari'ah Court has the jurisdiction to rule in the following cases: A. [Cases of] monetary rights of spouses and children-of all types-and monetary expenditures between relatives, and requests for increases, decreases, or ending, thereof. B. Rights of custody, protection, and relocation with the child to another country. C. Proof of inheritance, bequeathal, wills, grants and regulation of notices of inheritance (Shari'ah obligation). D. Regulation of Shari'ah proofs, all types of attestations, authentication of documents related to personal affairs, and also endowment claims and their pertinent amendments, without infractions against the laws of authentication.

Article (18) The Greater Shari'ah Court has the jurisdiction to rule in the first instance in all cases related to personal affairs not falling under the jurisdiction of the Lesser Shari'ah Court.

Article (19) The Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court has the jurisdiction to settle cases with appeals against verdicts issued from the Greater Shari'ah Court in the first instance.

Article (20) Verdicts issued from the Sunni Shari'ah Department shall be appealed before the Sunni Shari'ah Department in the court with jurisdiction. Verdicts issued from the Ja'farite Shari'ah Department shall be appealed before the Ja'farite Shari'ah Department in the court with jurisdiction, regardless of the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the appellant or the appellee.

Article (21) In cases related to personal affairs, the guidelines set forth in the draft law No. (26) of the year 1987, regarding Shari'ah court procedures, shall be followed.


Section 3: Judges[edit]

Part 1: Appointment and Promotion of Judges[edit]

Article (22) The [following] conditions are required of those who assume judgeship in the courts: A. They shall be Bahraini; [however] it is lawful to appoint someone who carries the citizenship of an Arab country. B. They shall be fully competent. C. They shall have obtained a license or baccalaureate in law from an accredited university, or an Islamic Shari'ah authorization qualifying them to assume Shari'ah judgeship. D. They shall be of exemplary background and good repute. E. They shall not have previously been convicted criminally or punitively for reasons dishonorable or which indicate untrustworthiness, even if they have been rehabilitated. F. They shall have worked in legal or Shari'ah affairs for no less than ten years in order to be appointed as judges in the Higher Appeals Court, six years in order to be appointed as judges in the Greater Court, and two years in order to be appointed as judges in the Lesser Courts.

Article (23) As an exception to the regulations of clause C of Article (22) of this law, Bahraini judges who do not meet the conditions set forth in that clause shall remain in their posts until their time of service ends in accordance with the law.

Article (24) Judges are appointed by royal decree, based on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council. Promotion to higher judicial positions shall be carried out through appointments from positions directly preceding them.

Article (25) The seniority of judges shall be from the date of the decree of their appointment unless the decree specifies otherwise. In the event more than one judge is appointed or promoted by one royal decree, seniority between them is according to their [names'] arrangement in the decree.


Part 2: Duties of Judges[edit]

Article (26) Before beginning their employment, the judges shall take the following oath: "I swear to God the Great to adjudicate among the people justly, and to respect the laws and system of the kingdom."

The oath must be taken before the king in the presence of the Minister of Justice.

Article (27) It is unlawful to grant medals to judges and members of the prosecution as they take up their employment. It is also unlawful to combine judiciary and prosecution positions, or to engage in any commercial activity or work unbecoming of the dignity of the judicial office and its independence.

Article (28) It is unlawful for the judge to express his opinion or inclination in the disputes presented to him in any way, or to offer advice to the litigants or their lawyers, or to speak with them directly or indirectly regarding the disputes before issuance of the verdict.

It is unlawful for the justice to divulge confidential information from deliberations.

Article (29) It is unlawful for the judge to act as an arbitrator without the consent of the Supreme Judicial Council, even if it were for no profit or if the dispute were not submitted for adjudication, unless one of the parties in the dispute is a relative to the judge or his cousins, up to the fourth degree.

Article (30) Judges are prohibited from engaging in political activity or expressing their opinions on political issues, and it is unlawful for them to nominate themselves for general elections.

From the date anyone nominates themselves as candidates in these elections, they are considered to have resigned from their offices [as judges].

Article (31) In case a judge is unfit to hear a case, he must request from the Supreme Judicial Council to abstain [from hearing the case].

Even if fit to hear a case and without any reason to abstain from it, if he were to feel any difficulty in hearing the case, for any reason, it is lawful for a judge to offer his abstention [from the case] to the Supreme Judicial Council for consideration.

In both such cases, it will be thus recorded in a special note for the case file.

Article (32) It is unlawful for judges, between whom there are ties of family or marriage up to the fourth degree, to sit in one department. It is likewise unlawful for the representative of the prosecution, or one of the litigants or their defense [lawyers] to have such ties as mentioned to one of the judges hearing the case. The empowerment of the representative [of the prosecution] or the defense with such ties as mentioned to the judge shall not be considered if the representation were linked to the judge hearing the case.

Article (33) It is unlawful for the judge to be absent from his place of work before informing the chairman of the court, or to suddenly stop working for any other reason, before being given written permission to do so from the Supreme Judicial Council. If the judge were to fail in upholding this duty, the Council will inform him thereof in writing.

Moreover, if the time of leave without permission were to increase beyond seven days per week, the additional period is to be considered as regular leave, counted from the period beginning from the day following the last sitting the judge held, and ending when the judge returns to hold another sitting.

If the judge were to persist in violating the guidelines of this article, it is obligatory to report the situation to the disciplinary council.

The judge shall be considered resigned from his post if absent for 30 consecutive days without permission, even if it were after the end of his leave.

If he were to return and offer an excuse accepted by the Supreme Judicial Council, he shall be considered as not resigned, and in such case the period of absence would be considered as regular or sick leave, according to the circumstances.


Part 3: Immunity of Judges and Reasons for Termination of their Tenure and their Questioning[edit]

Article (34) Judges cannot be removed from office except in certain circumstances, and according to the procedures outlined in this law. Their tenure shall not end except for the following reasons: A. Death B. Resignation C. End of contract period for those working on a contract basis, or the loan period of those loaned out [to different courts]. The end of the contract or the loan period shall be before the end of the period by a decision of the Supreme Judicial Council. D. Attainment of retirement age. E. Proof of their inability to conduct the duties of their office for health reasons; the inability shall be verified with a decision from the medical department concerned. F. Resignation based on reasons and in accordance with the procedures outlined in this law. G. Entrusting other positions to them with their consent.

Article (35) The Supreme Judicial Council, either on its own initiative or based on a request from the head of the court, has the right to counsel judges for any infractions they may commit against their duties and the guidelines of their posts, after hearing their statements. The counseling shall be oral or in writing.

In case of objection to the written counseling, the judge may request during the fifteen days following his notification of counseling for the Supreme Judicial Council to conduct an investigation into the incident which was the cause for counseling.

Article (36) The questioning of justices falls under the jurisdiction of a disciplinary council. It is formed by a decision issued from the Supreme Judicial Council.

The disciplinary case shall be raised from the general representative, based on a request from the Supreme Judicial Council.

The request for a disciplinary hearing must be preceded by an investigation taken up by one of the judges acting on behalf of the chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council for this purpose.

It is required for the judge chosen to conduct the investigation to be the higher in seniority to the judge undergoing the investigation.

Article (37) It is lawful for the disciplinary council to conduct what it deems necessary in the way of investigations, and it may delegate one of its members to do so. The disciplinary council and the member delegated to the investigation have the powers vested to the courts in this regard.

Article (38) If the disciplinary council sees a reason to pursue the case on all or some counts, it shall issue its decision by announcing the bill of indictment to the judge and requiring him to appear before it [the disciplinary council], so that it may be announced at least one week in advance of the appointed time for the council to convene. The chairman of the council shall do the announcement and summoning of the judge to appear.

The request for appearance shall include a sufficient statement of the issue of the case, and the evidence for the accusation. It is lawful for the council, in the course of conducting the trial, to order the judge to desist from carrying out the functions of his office.

The [order to] desist does not constitute docking the judge's salary, unless the council [specifically] decides to dock all or part of. It is lawful for the disciplinary council to review its decision to stop or cut the salary at any time, either on its own accord or based on a request from the judge.

Article (39) The disciplinary case requires the judge to resign. The case does not have any influence on the criminal or civil case arising from the incident surrounding the debriefing.

Article (40) Disciplinary trial sessions shall be closed, and the judge shall appear in person before the council. He has the right to offer a written defense and to seek the aid of one of the justices or members of the prosecution for his defense. If the judge does not attend or does not send anyone on his behalf, it is lawful for him to be tried in absentia after an investigation into the soundness of the indictment.

Article (41) The verdict issued by the disciplinary council must include the grounds upon which it was based, and these reasons must be read aloud in a closed session.

Article (42) The disciplinary actions that can be lawfully taken against the judge are censure and removal from office. The Minister of Justice shall oversee the implementation of the verdicts issued by the disciplinary council.

A royal decree shall be issued for implementation of the verdict of removal from office, to be considered valid from the publishing date of the decree in the official newspaper.

The verdict of removal from office shall not affect the rights of the judge towards salary or remuneration. The verdict of censure shall be entered into the judge's file and shall not be published in the official newspaper.

Article (43) In other circumstances involving a crime, it is unlawful for the judge to be arrested and placed in preventive custody except after obtaining permission from the Supreme Judicial Council, based on a request from the prosecutor.

In circumstances involving a crime, the prosecution is required upon the judge's arrest and placement in preventive custody to raise the issue to the Supreme Judicial Council in the following 24 hours. After hearing statements from the judge, the Council may decide to continue his imprisonment or release him with or without bail.

The Council shall determine the length of imprisonment in the decision issued for imprisonment, or continuation thereof. The procedures indicated must be observed whenever continuation of preventive custody is opted for, after the end of the period decided by the Council.

Excepting in the aforementioned [case], it is unlawful to carry out any investigations of the judge or raise any criminal charges against him, except with the permission of the Supreme Judicial Council based on a request from the prosecutor.

The imprisonment of judges and the implementation of freedom-restricting sanctions shall be conducted in places separate from those of other prisoners.


Part 4: Judicial Inspection[edit]

Article (44) A Judicial Inspection Administration for the activities of judges shall be established and made subordinate to the chairman of the court of cassation. An order for its formation, organization of its activities and the measures it follows shall be issued from the Supreme Judicial Council.

Article (45) The appraisal of the judges shall be with one of the following degrees: Excellent / Above Average / Average / Below Average.

The judges must be informed of every note or paper entry made to their service files. They shall also be informed of the evaluation report. They have the right to lodge complaints with the Supreme Judicial Council regarding the evaluation report with 15 days after being informed. The Council shall settle the complaint after reviewing the documents and hearing statements of the complainant if necessary. The decision of the Council regarding the competence assessment shall be final.

Article (46) The head of the Judicial Inspection Administration may delegate one of the members of the administration to perform a rapid or surprise inspection into the activities of one of the judges, or to investigate anything filed against him in the way of serious complaints that affect his work, personal bearing or the requirements of his office and duties as stipulated by law.

It shall be required that the inspector or investigator delegated shall be higher in seniority than the person on whom the inspection or investigation is being carried out.

Article (47) The Judicial Inspection Administration shall bring its reports to the head of the Court of Cassation, from where they shall be made available for the Supreme Judicial Council to take what [actions] it deems appropriate in their regard.

Article (48) The Judicial Inspection Administration shall inform the judge of the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council in the event it concluded that the complaints filed against him were valid.

The judge has the right to complain against this decision before the Supreme Judicial Council within 15 days following the date he was informed of it. The decision of the Council with regard to the complaint shall be final.


Section 7: Prosecution[edit]

Part 1: General Law[edit]

Article (49) The prosecution is one of the integral branches of the judicial authority, and shall exercise the jurisdictions legally assigned to it. It alone advances and prosecutes criminal cases, in cases other than where the law stipulates an exemption.

Article (50) The prosecution shall not be divisible in the sense of being an investigative and a prosecuting authority. Any one of its members can take the position of another member to complete any procedures initiated [by the first member], with adherence to the rules of jurisdiction.

Article (51) The prosecutor general, lead attorney general, attorney general, the heads of the prosecution, and its deputies and assistants, carry out the job of the prosecution in the courts. In the event of the prosecutor general's absence, the vacancy of his position, or prohibiting circumstances, his position will be filled by the lead attorney general, who will assume all of his jurisdictions.

Article (52) The judicial court recorders, in regards to the work of their posts, adhere to the prosecution, for which it is lawful, in case of necessity, to assign an assistant of the prosecution to investigate a case in its entirety.

Article (53) A technical office for the prosecutor general shall be established, and its jurisdiction defined by a decision from the Supreme Judicial Council, based on the recommendation of the prosecutor general. It shall consist of several members of the prosecution, delegated via a decision from the Supreme Judicial Council, and based on the nomination of the prosecutor general.

Article (54) The lead attorney general shall have, under the prosecutor general's supervision, all of the latter's jurisdiction specified in the laws of the High Civil Appeals Court.

Article (55) The Minister of Justice shall preside over the oversight of the prosecution and its members.

The members of the prosecution shall follow their directors in the order of seniority, and act as representatives of the prosecutor general in the practice of their office. All of them answer to the Minister of Justice.


Article (56) The prosecution conducts the supervision of prisons and other places in which criminal laws are implemented, and the prosecutor general shall inform the Minister of Justice what he may deem noteworthy regarding them.


Part 2: Appointment of Members of the Prosecution, their Promotion and Advancement, Seniority, and Reasons for Termination of their Services[edit]

Article (57) Those appointed as members of the prosecution must meet the following requirements: A. They must be Bahrainis; it is lawful to appoint someone carrying the citizenship of one of the Arab countries. B. They must be fully competent. C. They must have obtained a license or a baccalaureate degree in law from a recognized university. D. They must be of good character and repute. E. They shall not have previously been convicted criminally or punitively for reasons dishonorable or which indicate untrustworthiness, even if they have been rehabilitated. F. They must have spent a period of no less than fifteen years working in a judicial or legal capacity in order to be appointed to the post of prosecutor general, or the lead attorney general, ten years to be appointed to the post of the attorney general, six years to be appointed to the post of chairmanship of the prosecution (A), (B), and two years to be appointed as a deputy prosecutor.

Article (58) The appointing of the prosecutor general and other members of the prosecution is done by royal decree based on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council, and promotion to the higher positions in the prosecution is done by appointment from the positions preceding them directly.

Article (59) The appointment of prosecution assistants shall be done for one probationary year by decision of the Minister of Justice. It is lawful for them to be dismissed on the recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council if they are proven unfit to bear the burdens of their office.

Article (60) The seniority of members of the prosecution shall be from the date of the royal decree issued on their appointment or promotion, unless the decree specifies it [the seniority] at a different date.

If more than one member were appointed or promoted by one royal decree, seniority between them shall be according to their [names'] arrangement in the order. The seniority of members of the prosecution is determined from the date of their appointment to judges' offices equivalent to their ranks.

Article (61) The positions of the members of the prosecution equate to the posts of judges according to the attached schedule.

Article (62) Before commencing their work, members of the prosecution shall take the following oath: "I swear by God the Great to perform my duty with responsibility and truth, and to respect the laws and system of the kingdom."

The prosecutor general's oath shall be taken before the king in the presence of the Minister of Justice. The remaining members of the prosecution shall take the oath before the Minister of Justice and in the presence of the prosecutor general.

Article (63) The designation of work headquarters for the prosecution, the jurisdiction of its members, and their transfer, shall be determined by a decision from the Minister of Justice, based on the recommendation of the prosecutor general, and with the agreement of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Article (64) With the exception of the prosecuting assistants, the members of the prosecution are immune to removal from office, except under certain circumstances and in accordance with the procedures stipulated in this law.

Their service shall not end except for one of the reasons outlined in Article (34) of this law, and in accordance with its regulations.

Article (65) The regulations stipulated in Articles (27), (28), (29), (30), (31) and (32) of this law are in effect with regard to the duties of the members of the prosecution.


Part 3: Questioning of Members of the Prosecution and Oversight of their Work[edit]

Article (66) The regulations established for the questioning of judges in Articles (36) through (43) in this law shall be applied in the questioning of members of the prosecution.

Article (67) The Minister of Justice and the prosecutor general may issue a counseling statement, either orally or in writing, to a member of the prosecution not fulfilling the duties of his office, after hearing his statements.

The member of the prosecution may file a complaint against a counseling directed to him in writing before the Supreme Judicial Council within fifteen days following his receipt of the counseling. The decision of the Council with respect to the complaint shall be final.

If the violation were to repeat or continue after the final settlement of the complaint, it shall be lawful to raise a disciplinary case against the member.

Article (68) A system for oversight of members of the prosecution shall be issued in a decision from the Minister of Justice, based on the recommendation of the prosecutor general, and with the agreement of the Supreme Judicial Council.


Section 5: The Supreme Judicial Council[edit]

Article (69) The King chairs the Supreme Judicial Council, which is comprised of the following: A. Chairman of the Court of Cassation B. Prosecutor general C. Chairman of the Civil High Appeals Court D. The two most senior deputies of Civil High Appeals Court E. Chairman of the Shari'ah High Appeals Court (Sunni Department) F. Chairman of the Shari'ah High Appeals Court (Ja'farite Department) G. Chairman of the Greater Civil Court

The King may appoint whom he sees fit as his representative to head the Supreme Judicial Council.

Article (70) The Supreme Judicial Council has jurisdiction in the following: A. Supervision to ensure the smooth operation of work in the courts and their associated organs, and adopting the measures necessary toward that end. B. Recommending the appointment and promotion of judges and members of the prosecution, and everything relating to them. C. Proffering of its opinion on justice and prosecution-related law bills. D. All of the affairs stipulated in this law.

Article (71) The meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council shall be valid with the attendance of at least five of its members. All of its sessions shall be closed. It shall issue its decisions and recommendations through a majority of votes of those in attendance. In the event of a tie, the side of the chairman shall prevail.

The Council shall issue a list of rules and procedures organizing its activities.

Article (72) The Minister of Justice shall oversee the implementation of the Supreme Judicial Council decisions presented to him.

Article (73) The Supreme Judicial Council shall have a General Secretariat, the formation and activities of which are organized by a decision issued from the Chairman of the Council.


Section 6: Judicial Aides[edit]

Article (74) Judicial Aides are the lawyers, experts, writers and translators.

Article (75) The lawyers have the sole right to appear for the litigants before the court as they have the right to appear with the litigants before the prosecution. The court may give permission for the litigants to have themselves represented during the presentation of their defense before them [the courts] by their wives or offspring or their relatives up to the fourth degree removed.

Article (76) The law shall specify the conditions required for employment as a lawyer, state the rights and duties of lawyers, and the avenues for disciplinary action against them.

Article (77) The law shall organize the experts throughout the judiciary and the prosecution, define the rights and duties of the experts, and the avenues disciplinary action against them.

Article (78) To the courts shall be appointed a general registrar, who will collect the fees and fines levied, and receive deposits under the supervision of the court administration director, and the oversight of the Minister of Justice.

Article (79) The required number of translators shall be attached to the courts. It is not lawful to appoint a translator to the courts before they have passed an editorial test in Arabic and the language from which they will translate.

Article (80) The staff of the court and the prosecution is forbidden from disseminating confidential case information. They are not to inform anyone whom such information does not concern, nor anyone that the laws and instructions prohibit from being privy to it.

Schedule Equivalents of Prosecution Positions in the Judiciary Attachment to Judicial Authority Law Issued by Decree of Law No. ( ) for the year 2002


Prosecutor General Chairman of Cassation Court Lead Attorney General Deputy of Cassation CourtJustice of Cassation Court Attorney General Chairman of Civil High Appeals CourtDeputy of Civil High Appeals CourtJustice of Civil High Appeals Court Chairman of Prosecution (A) Chairman of Greater Court Chairman of Prosecution (B) Deputy of Greater CourtJustice of Greater Court Deputy of Prosecution Justice of Lesser Courts Prosecution Assistant In salary equivalent to the lowest limit of the first rank in the pay scale for justices.


Kingdom of Bahrain The Supreme Judicial Council Office of the President [CREST OF KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN]

Decision No. (8) for the year 2003: Formation of Judicial Inspection Administration, and the Organization of its Activities and Procedures[edit]

After a review of the legislative decree No. (42) for the year 2002 issued with the judiciary authority law, and specifically Article (44) thereof, and after the agreement of the Supreme Judicial Council, the following has been decided:

Article (1) The of Judicial Inspection Administration for the activities of the judges shall be formed from one of the judges of the Civil High Appeals Court of no less than the rank of chairman, and a sufficient number of judges whose rank is to be no less than that of a judge in the Greater Court. A decision shall be issued from the chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council for them to be sent to work in the aforementioned administration.

The Council Chairman-in case of necessity-may appoint whom he sees fit from among those judges whose rank is no less than that of a judge at the Greater Court, to inspect whom he specifies from among the judges in the decision. The Judicial Inspection Administration will be provided with the required number of staff.

Article (2) The Judicial Inspection Administration has the jurisdiction to conduct oversight of the activities of the judges, to investigate complaints filed against them, and gather statements leading to a better knowledge of their competence and the extent of their attention to performing the duties of their office. It may conduct a rapid or surprise inspection of their activities.

Article (3) The chairman of the Judicial Inspection Administration shall distribute tasking among the inspectors and appoint the most senior inspector to act on his behalf in his absence.

Article (4) The judicial inspector shall file a two-part report, the first part of which shall contain judicial and administrative notes gathered during his inspection. The second part shall contain his opinion regarding the competence of the judge and his attentiveness to his work. The first part of the report must contain: 1. Number and types of cases presented to the judge, and how they were settled during the period of the inspection. 2. Observations seen regarding reasons for postponing the cases, and the extent of their appropriateness. 3. The opening and closing times for hearings, how he [the judge] managed them, distribution of the cases over case-hearing days, and observations made in this regard. 4. How the cases were distributed among the members of the department, and a statement on whether or not the distribution was done equally among them with regard to the number and importance of the cases. 5. The judge's excuses regarding his normal activities and about what was delegated to him [in the way of assignments, etc.]. 6. The extent of the judge's management of the work of the writing and reporting section.

Article (5) The report must include the number of cases reviewed by the inspector, and observations made regarding them. The inspector must always point out those regulations worthy of mention to compose a complete picture on the degree of competence of the judge.

Article (6) The report shall be placed in the secret file of the judge, and a statement containing an evaluation of his competence sent to him. The judge may file a complaint regarding it in accordance with Article (45) from draft law No. (42) of the year 2002 in the issue of the Judicial Authority Law.

The chairman of the Inspection Administration may inform the Council Chairman of what has been revealed in the course of inspection of one of the departments about issues related to its activities if the situation called for that.

Article (7) All complaints sent to the Ministry of Justice about issues related to judges shall be sent immediately to the Judicial Inspection Administration [for it] to undertake the necessary steps required in their regard.

Article (8) It is unlawful to initiate any procedure on any complaint filed against one of the judges without the name and address of its author being evident, unless it contains facts that the Chairman of the Inspection Administration considers worth investigating.

Article (9) All judges shall have a secret file, into which are placed in accordance with the previous [previously mentioned] rules, the inspection reports and complaints filed against him, complaints filed by him, counseling statements or disciplinary action taken against him, and all papers which aid in composing a correct picture on him. The judge must be made aware of everything placed in his file.

Article (10) The Judicial Inspection Administration shall keep a secret record containing for every judge a page on which the contents of his secret file are summarized.

Article (11) The secret filed and the secret record shall be kept with the Judicial Inspection Administration.

Article (12) It is unlawful for anyone other than the Minister of Justice or judicial organs with appropriate jurisdiction, or anyone without the consent of the Council Chairman, to review the judges' secret files or the secret record. The chairman of the Inspection Administration must inform the judge of what has been recorded regarding him in both of them.

[SIGNATURE] Abdur-Rahman Bin Muhammad Bin Rashid Aal Khalifah Chairman of Cassation Court Acting Chairman of Supreme Justice Council

Issue date: 13 Muharram 1424 AH / 16 March 2003 AD

Kingdom of Bahrain The Supreme Judicial Council Office of the President [CREST OF KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN]

List of Organizational Rules and Procedures for Activities of the Supreme Judicial Council[edit]

After reviewing draft law No. (42) for the year 2002 issued in the law of judicial authority, and with the agreement of the Supreme Judicial Council, the following has been decided:

First: Convening of the Council and its Jurisdictions[edit]

Article (1) The Supreme Judicial Council shall take up the jurisdictions ascribed to it in draft law No. (42) for the year 2002 issued in the law of judicial authority as described in this list, and implement procedural and substantive rules as required by the nature of its jurisdictions.

Article (2) The meeting of the Supreme Judicial Council shall be based on an invitation from its chairman whenever he deems it necessary. The invitation for the attendees of its meetings shall be reported to its members, accompanied by the agenda of affairs [to be covered] at least one day in advance of the appointment, unless necessity requires it to be issued on the day the Council is to convene.

Article (3) The Council Chairman shall preside over the presentation of the issues at hand, accompanied by the statements and documents necessary to enable the Council to act on them. Its decisions and recommendations shall be adopted as outlined in Article (71) of draft law No. (42) of the year 2002 issued in the law of judicial authority. The chairman will be the last person to state his opinion, and the decisions shall be issued without reasons, unless the Council deems it fit to do otherwise in certain situations.

Article (4) The Supreme Judicial Council shall met at the beginning of every judicial year to review: 1. Arrangement and composition of departments, and formation of courts and committees. 2. Distribution of cases among the courts and different departments. 3. Specifying the number of council sessions, their days and their beginning convening times. 4. Delegation of judges to work in different courts. 5. All issues related to the organization of with in the courts and judicial activity.

[The Council] shall also meet before the end of every judicial year, to review the organization of annual leave for judges during the judicial recess, and the distribution of work to the courts for that time.

Second: Council Chairman[edit]

Article (5) The Council Chairman represents it [the Council] to others, sets the work agenda in the Council, oversees its smooth operation, and assumes its jurisdictions as laid out in draft law No. (42) for the year 2002 issued in the Law of Judicial Authority, and in this list.

Article (6) The Council Chairman determines the issues to be presented to the council and sets its work schedule. It is lawful for him to bring up newly arising topics of importance on the conference day if necessity requires it, or based on a request from one of the members if he were to inform the Council Chairman of it at least one day before the Council meeting. [The Council Chairman] heads its sessions and announces their conclusion, manages debates, accredits session transcripts, announces Council decisions, and oversees their implementation.

Third: Powers of Attorney of the Council[edit]

Article (7) The Council Chairman shall adopt the necessary procedures to expedite the work of the courts. He may appoint one of the judges to act on behalf of any judge excused from performing his duties for emergency reasons. To that end he may empower the heads of the Greater Appeals Courts.

Article (8) The Council may form among its members one or more committees empowered to handle some of its jurisdictions. These committees shall meet at the invitation of their chairman. Their meetings, sessions, and decisions shall be done in accordance with this list.

Fourth: General Secretariat[edit]

Article (9) The chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council shall form a General Secretariat answerable to himself, headed by a general secretary and staffed with a sufficient number of employees. The general secretary shall oversee the recording of Council debates and decisions, and edit transcripts of them to be signed and endorsed by the Council Chairman. The transcripts shall be kept with the General Secretariat. It is unlawful for someone other [than the general secretary] to access them or to make photocopies of them without permission from the judiciary and the consent of the Council Chairman.

Article (10) The general secretary shall oversee the preparation of an agenda schedule, its dissemination among the members, and the preparation of studies and research to be offered to the Council or presented to its subordinate committees, as well as other assignments with which it is tasked. The General Secretariat shall oversee the implementation of the Council's decisions.

Article (11) Without violating the regulations contained in this list, a decision to organize the agenda of the General Secretariat and specify the records and forms [to be used in its activities] shall be issued by the Council Chairman.

Fifth: Seniority[edit]

Article (12) The judges and members of the prosecution shall be entered in a general chart of seniority in accordance with the rules in Article (25) of draft law No. (42) of the year 2002 for the issue of Judicial Authority Law, and divided into two categories: the first category for Civil Justice and the second category for Shari'ah Justice.

Sixth: Leave[edit]

Article (13) Judicial recess shall commence every year on the 15th of July and end on the last of August. It is unlawful for judges to take leave other than during the judicial recess, except for those who performed work during that time or due to exceptional circumstances, as assessed by the Council Chairman.

Seventh: Delegation and Loaning of Judges[edit]

Article (14) It is lawful to loan or delegate judges to work in government departments, or public establishments and institutions, or companies with a participating stake in state capital, or with foreign governments or international institutions, per a decision from the Supreme Judicial Council.

Eighth: Procedures[edit]

Article (15) Requests and matters within its jurisdiction shall be presented to the Supreme Judicial Council, accompanied by the statements, papers and documents necessary for it to begin processing them. It is lawful to present a photocopy of the original documents after their review with the knowledge of the Council General Secretariat and indications of it being an authentic copy of the original.

Ninth: General Regulations[edit]

Article (16) It is lawful for the Supreme Judicial Council to review the decisions it issues if they have been based on incorrect facts or statements, or new facts become available which might have changed the [Council's] opinion in their regard. The Council may in all circumstances correct material errors and resolve what it may have been previously unaware of in matters previously presented to it.

Article (17) [The Council] shall operate according to this list effective from the date of its issuance.

Abdur-Rahman Bin Muhammad Bin Rashid Aal Khalifah Chairman of Cassation Court Acting Chairman of The Supreme Judicial Council

Issue date: 13 Muharram 1424 AH / 16 March 2003 AD

Draft Law No. (19) for the Year 2000: Amendments to Selected Regulations of Draft Law No. (13) for the Year 1971 Concerning Organization of the Judiciary[edit]

I, Hamad Bin 'Isa Aal Khalifah, Emir of the State of Bahrain, after reviewing the constitution, in particular Article (102D), Emiri decree No. (4) for the year 1975, draft law No. (13) for the year 1971 regarding organization of the judiciary and its amendments, law No. (4) for the year 1975 regarding the judicial cadres and its amendments, the Cassation Court law issued in the draft law No. (8) for the year 1989, and based on a recommendation from the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, and after consulting the Shura Council, and after the agreement of the Council of Ministers, hereby decree the following law:

The First Article[edit]

The title and article of special part 5 on the "Judicial Consultative Committee" in Section 2 of draft law No. (13) for the year 1971, regarding organization of the judiciary, is hereby replaced by a new title and articles as follows:

Part 5 The Supreme Judicial Council

Article (44) A Supreme Judicial Council shall be established in the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, to be headed by the Chairman of the Cassation Court and comprised of the following membership: 1) Chairman of the Civil Higher Appeals Court. 2) The two most senior deputies of the Civil Higher Appeals Court 3) Chairman of the Shari'ah Higher Appeals Court (Sunni Department) 4) Chairman of the Shari'ah Higher Appeals Court (Ja'farite Department) 5) Chairman of Greater Civil Court

In case of the absence of the chairman, the chairman of the Civil Higher Appeals Court will act on his behalf.

Article (45) The Supreme Judicial Council oversees the smooth operation of work in the courts and their associated organs, recommending what may be necessary in that regard, and has jurisdiction over everything related to the affairs of the judges, including their promotion, transfer, and delegation. [The Council] likewise has the jurisdiction to review nominations presented to it by the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs for appointments to judicial posts as stipulated in this law. It is to be consulted regarding draft legislation related to the judiciary.

Article (46) The Supreme Judicial Council has the jurisdiction to inspect the work of judges at least once per year. Competence evaluations shall be according to one of the following degrees: Exemplary / Above Average / Average / Below Average.

The judges must be informed of everything put in their service records in the way of notes or papers, as well as the results of the inspection evaluation. They have the right to file a complaint against the inspection report to the Council within 15 days after they have been informed. The Council shall settle the complaint after reviewing the papers and hearing the statements of the complainant if necessary. The Council decision with regard to the evaluation of competence shall be final.

Article (47) Without infracting against the regulations of the preceding article, the Supreme Judicial Council may delegate one of its members or at least one of the Higher Appeals Court judges to perform a rapid or surprise inspection of the activities of one of the judges, or to investigate serious complaints filed against them, which affect their work, personal bearing, or the requirements and duties of his office as stipulated in this law.

All of this is under the condition that the delegated inspector or investigator be higher in rank or seniority than [the person on] which the inspection or investigation is being conducted.

The delegated inspector or investigator-in this regard-must have all authority necessary to enable him to carry out his tasking, including reviewing cases and hearing witnesses and the judge under inspection or investigation. After completing his work, the delegated inspector or investigator shall present the file of inspection or investigation performed to the Supreme Judicial Council, accompanied by a report of the procedures he followed and the conclusion he reached, as well as his opinion in evaluating the judge's work and an appropriate assessment of his competence during the inspection.

Article (48) The Supreme Judicial Council may form a committee of three of its members, with jurisdiction to review the report presented by the delegated inspector or investigator-according to the circumstances-in order to give its opinion regarding the report, and then offer its recommendation to the Council.

Article (49) The judge shall be informed of the conclusion of the report if the Council were to find the complaint filed against him to be valid or if his assessment of competence were to fall below average.

The judge has the right to file a complaint regarding the report before the Council within 15 days after the date of him being informed of its conclusion, and the decision of the Council regarding the complaint shall be final. It is unlawful for anyone who conducted the inspection or investigation of the judge to take part in hearing the complaint.

Article (50) The Supreme Judicial Council shall meet at the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs at the invitation of its Chairman. The meeting of the Council shall be considered valid with at least four of its members present, with the Council Chairman or the person acting in his behalf, among them. All of its deliberations shall be closed. Its decisions and recommendations shall be issued by a majority of votes of those present. In the event of a tie of votes, the side of the Chairman shall prevail.

The Council shall issue a list of the rules and procedures organizing its affairs.

Article (51) The Supreme Judicial Council shall have a General Secretariat. A decision from the Council Chairman shall be issued for its formation and the organization of its affairs.

Article (52) The decisions of the Supreme Judicial Council are raised to the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, who will take the steps he deems necessary for their implementation.

Article (53) In accordance with the regulation of Article (29), judges shall not be dismissed from their positions except based on a recommendation from the Supreme Judicial Council, or based on a verdict to that effect issued from the special courts.


The Second Article[edit]

The Supreme Judicial Council shall take the place of the "Chairman of the Department of Justice" in Articles (7), (23), (36), (37), and (38) of the draft law No. (13) for the year 1971, regarding the organization of the judiciary. The final paragraph of Article (36) shall also be deleted.

The Third Article[edit]

The title "Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs" shall replace the title "Chairman of the Department of Justice" wherever it appears in draft law No. (13) for the year 1971 regarding the organization of the judiciary, most particularly in Articles (29), (30), (35), (49), and (53).

The Fourth Article[edit]

The articles in Section 3 of draft law N. (13) for the year 1971 regarding the organization of the judiciary shall be renumbered, under the title of "Judicial Aides," commencing from the text of article (45) until the end of the draft law, such that the articles will be numbered from (54) to (62) consecutively, and so forth.

The Fifth Article[edit]

The Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs shall implement this law, which shall be announced on the date of its publishing in the official newspaper.

Emir of the State of Bahrain Hamad Bin 'Isa Aal Khalifah

Issued in Ar-Rifa' Palace Date: 15 Rabi' Ath-Thani 1421 AH / 17 July 2000 AD

Draft Law No. (25) for the Year 1987: Regarding Amendments to some of the Regulations of Draft Law No. (13) for the Year 1971 Regarding the Organization of the Judiciary[edit]

I, 'Isa Bin Salman Aal Khalifah, Emir of the State of Bahrain, after reviewing the constitution, the Emiri directive No. (4) for the year 1973, draft law no. (12) for the year 1971 regarding organization of the judiciary, and based on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, and with the agreement of the Council of Ministers, hereby decree the following law:

The First Article[edit]

The text of Article (17) of draft law No. (13) for the year 1971 shall be replaced by the following text:

The Shari'ah courts shall be composed of two courts: 1. The Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court 2. The Greater Shari'ah Court

The Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court shall be composed of two departments: 1. The Sunni Shari'ah Department 2. The Ja'farite Shari'ah Department

The Greater Shari'ah Court shall also be composed of two departments: 1. The Sunni Shari'ah Department 2. The Ja'farite Shari'ah Department

Each department-the Sunni and Ja'farite departments-has the jurisdiction to hear the personal affairs cases of Muslims, based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the plaintiff at the time of the filing of the case.

In exception to the regulations of the preceding paragraph, jurisdiction in cases related to contracts of marriage shall be based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation regulations according to which the contract of marriage was promulgated. This is to be defined according to the shari'ah department or its representative who endorsed the contract of marriage.

The jurisdiction shall be based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the husband at the time of the promulgation of the contract of marriage, in the event that no endorsed contract of marriage is found, or if the contract of marriage were found outside of the state of Bahrain, and none of the two departments had ratified it.

The shari'ah courts have the jurisdiction to hear cases related to inheritance, grants, wills, and endowments, according to the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the inheritor or grantor or will-giver or endower.

The Second Article[edit]

Both the Sunni and Ja'farite departments must on their own accord transfer to the other department those cases they have which have entered the jurisdiction of the other department, as soon as this situation occurs, according to the regulations of this law. In case of the absence of one of the litigants, the matter of transferring the case becomes incumbent upon that litigant before the department to which the case was transferred.

The regulation of the preceding paragraph does not apply to cases under dispute or appeal, to which apply instead the regulations of the old paragraphs.

The Third Article[edit]

The Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs shall implement this law, which shall become effective from its publishing date in the official newspaper.

[STAMP] Emir of the State of Bahrain 'Isa Bin Salman Aal Khalifah

Issued at Ar-Rifa' Palace Date: 20 Rabi' Al-Aakhir 1407 AH / 23 December 1987

Draft Law No. (17) for the Year 1977: Amendment to Article (27) of Draft Law No. (13) for the Year 1971 Regarding Organization of the Judiciary[edit]

I, 'Isa Bin Salman Aal Khalifa, Emir of the State of Bahrain, after reviewing the constitution, the Emiri decree No. (4) for the year 1975, law No. (13) for the year 1971 regarding organization [of the judiciary; THIS PART OBSCURED], and based on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs, and with the consent of the Council of Ministers, I hereby decree the following:

The First Article[edit]

The text of article (27) of draft law No. (13) for the year 1971 regarding the organization of the judiciary shall be replaced with the following text: "Those appointed as judges in the lesser courts are required to have obtained a license or baccalaureate in law and have worked for two years in a legal capacity.

Those appointed, as judges in the greater courts, are required to have obtained a license or baccalaureate in law, a high certificate in the shari'ah sciences, or the equivalent thereof, and have worked for six years in a legal capacity. It is lawful to appoint judges of the Lesser Court to the Greater Courts after they have spent 3 years after the date of their appointment to the lesser courts.

Those appointed, as judges in the Higher Appeals Court, are required to have obtained a license or baccalaureate in law, a high certificate in the shari'ah sciences, or the equivalent thereof, and have worked for ten years in a legal capacity.

It is lawful to appoint judges of the Greater Court to the Higher Appeals Court after they have spent 3 years after the date of their appointment to the Greater Court.

The Second Article[edit]

The Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs shall implement this law, which is effective from its publishing date in the official newspaper.

Emir of the State of Bahrain 'Isa Bin Salman Aal Khalifah

Issued at Ar-Rifa' Palace Date: 11 Rajab 1397 AH / 27 June 1977

Draft Law No. (13) for the Year 1971: Regarding Organization of the Judiciary[edit]

I, 'Isa Bin Salman Aal Khalifah, ruler of Bahrain and its dependencies, after reviewing draft [law] No. (1) for the year 1970 regarding the establishment of the State Council, and based on the recommendation of the head of the Department of Justice and with the agreement of the State Council, hereby decree the following law:

Section 1: The Judiciary[edit]

Part 1 - General Regulations[edit]

Article - 1 - The courts shall exercise judicial authority in accordance with this law.

Article - 2 - The judges are independent, with no mandate to perform their specialties in something other than the law.

Article - 3 - If the judge does not find a legislative paragraph that can be implemented, the bases of his verdict shall be derived from Islamic shari'ah law and its rulings. If no shari'ah ruling is found, rules of convention shall be applied. Special convention shall take precedence over general convention. If no convention is found, rules of natural law and justice and common sense are applied.

Article - 4 - Court sessions are public, unless the court decides to close them in compliance with the general [legal] system or public mores.

Article - 5 - The Arabic language is the official language of the courts. It is lawful for the courts to hear statements from plaintiffs and defendants who do not know the Arabic language, through a translator who has taken an official oath to state the truth.

Article - 6 - Verdicts shall be issued in the name of the Ruler of Bahrain and its dependencies.

Article - 7 - In compliance with the regulations of this law, the head of the Department of Justice shall assume management of the judiciary. To that end he may issue the necessary guidance to provide for equitable justice.


Part 2: The Judiciary and its Jurisdiction[edit]

Article - 8 - The judiciary is composed of two sections: 1 - Civil judiciary 2 - Shari'ah judiciary

There are two types of shari'ah judiciary, the Sunni and Ja'farite.

Article - 9 - The civil judiciary courts have the jurisdiction to settle all civil and commercial cases, disputes related to the personal affairs of non-muslims, and all crimes, save for anything exempted by a special clause.

Article - 10 - The shari'ah judiciary courts have the jurisdiction to settle all disputes related to the personal affairs of Muslims, except in disputes related to principles of estates and their settlement, which is under the jurisdiction of the specific civil court.

Article - 11 - The courts may not look into the activities of the sovereigns. They may settle civil and commercial disputes arising between individuals and the government, with the exception of cases for which the law stipulates otherwise.

Part Three: Arrangement and Organization of the Courts[edit]

1 - Civil Judicial Courts[edit]

Article - 12 - The civil courts are composed of the following: 1 - Civil Higher Appeals Court 2 - Greater Civil Court 3 - Lesser Court

Each of them have the jurisdiction to hear the cases raised to them according to the law.

Article - 13 - The Civil Higher Appeals Courts are composed of a chairman and a number of judges as determined by need. Its convening shall be valid with the attendance of two judges, provided that the civil higher appeals court chairman or his deputy is among them.

Article - 14 - The headquarters for the Greater Civil Court is located in the city of Manama. It is lawful for the Greater Civil Court to convene outside of the city of Manama by a decision issued by the chairman of the Department of Justice and based on a request from the chairman of the court. The Greater Civil Court is composed of a chairman and a number of judges as required by need. Its convening shall be valid with the attendance of two judges, provided that the greater Civil Court chairman or one of his deputies are among them.

Article - 15 - If the civil higher appeals courts or the greater Civil Court convenes in the first or appellate instance with two judges, and they differed their opinion in issuing a verdict, the Chairman of the Department of Justice shall be called as a third judge to participate in the trial, whence the court will issue its decision with a majority.

Article - 16 - The Lesser Courts are composed of a single judge. The Chairman of the Department of Justice may issue a decision to form lesser courts with one judge or two judges to hear specific cases. The headquarters of every such court and its jurisdiction shall be stated in the decision. It is lawful to empower a judge from the Lesser Court to hear a specific case in one or more of the following branches: penal - civil - [ILLEGIBLE]. It is likewise lawful to delegate the judge from one branch to another from time to time.

2 - Shari'ah Judicial Courts[edit]

Article - 17 - The Shari'ah Courts are composed of two courts: 1. Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court 2. Greater Shari'ah Court

The Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court is composed of two departments: 1. Sunni Shari'ah Department 2. Ja'farite Shari'ah Department

The Greater Shari'ah Court is also composed of two departments: 1. Sunni Shari'ah Department 2. Ja'farite Shari'ah Department

Each department has the jurisdiction to hear the personal affairs cases of Muslims, based on the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the plaintiff at the time of the filing of the case. The Shari'ah Courts have the jurisdiction to hear cases related to inheritance, grants, will and testament, and endowments, according to the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the inheritor, grantor, testator or endower.

Article - 18 - The Greater Shari'ah Court hears personal affairs cases as specified in article 10 of this law. It settles them in the first instance.

Article - 19 - Without violating the regulations of the law of authentication, the Greater Shari'ah Court also has jurisdiction to standardize shari'ah proofs and attestations in their [different] forms, and to authenticate their documents.

Article - 20 - Verdicts issued by the Sunni Shari'ah Department in the Greater Court are appealed before the Sunni Shari'ah Department at the Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court. Likewise, verdicts issued by the Ja'farite Shari'ah Department in the Greater Court are appealed before the Ja'farite Shari'ah Department at the Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court, regardless of the Islamic sectarian affiliation of the appellant or the appellee.

Article - 21 - The two departments of the Greater Shari'ah Court and the two departments of the Higher Shari'ah appeals court are composed of a chairman and a sufficient number of judges for every department, according to requirements. The convening of a department shall be valid with [the attendance of] at least two judges, provided that the department chairman or one of his deputies is among them.

If the departments of the Greater Shari'ah Court or the Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court convene with two judges, and they disagreed on their opinions in issuing a verdict, the Chairman of the Department of Justice shall be called as a third judge to participate in the trial, whence the court will issue its decision with a majority.

Article - 22 - The currently used rules shall be followed in filing personal affairs cases. Settlement shall be done according to those rules, until a special list is issued, containing the rules for case filing before the shari'ah courts.

Article - 23 - If a difference occurs between the shari'ah courts and the civil courts, or between the two departments of the shari'ah courts, or if two contradictory and final verdicts were to be issued by then, the Chairman of the Department of Justice shall issue [a decision] to form a special court as follows: 1 - Chairman of the Civil Higher Appeals Court - Chairman 2 - The most senior judges of the Civil Higher Appeals Court. 3 - Chairman of the Sunni Shari'ah Department at the Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court - Member 4 - Chairman of the Ja'farite Shari'ah Department at the Higher Shari'ah Appeals Court - Member 5 - Chairman of the Greater Civil Court - Member

Article - 24 - For requests made to the court mentioned in the preceding article, it is required for deliberation to stop in the case regarding which the request to appoint a court was made. The request to appoint a court shall be settled by the court with the [appropriate] jurisdiction per a non-contestable verdict.

If the request were made after a verdict was reached in the case, the court may order the annulment of the two contradictory verdicts, or one of them.

Article - 25 - If a case brought before a court were rebutted under a dispute over which another judiciary authority has jurisdiction, and the court deems it necessary to settle the dispute before reaching a verdict in the actual case, it must stop the case and set an appointment date for the litigant against whom the rebuttal was directed, to seek a final ruling from the authority with jurisdiction. If [the court] does not deem this necessary, the rebuttal shall be ignored and a verdict reached in the case.

If the litigant fails to seek a final verdict in the rebuttal within the appointed time, the court may settle the case as is.


Section 2: Judges[edit]

Part 1: Appointment of Judges[edit]

Article - 26 - The following conditions must be met by those appointed to judgeships: 1 - They shall be Bahrainis, with complete civil competence. If none are available, it is lawful to make an exception for the appointment of non-Bahrainis. 2 - They shall have obtained a license of baccalaureate in law from an officially recognized Arab or foreign university, or an Islamic Shari'ah authorization qualifying them to assume Shari'ah judgeship. 3 - They shall be of good repute and have not been previously convicted for dishonorable reasons.

Article - 27 - Those appointed, as judges in the lesser courts, are required to have worked for four years in a legal capacity since obtaining their license or baccalaureate.

Those appointed, as judges in the greater courts, are required to have worked for at least six years in a legal capacity since obtaining their license or baccalaureate, or an Islamic Shari'ah authorization or equivalent thereof in the shari'ah sciences.

It is lawful to appoint judges from the lesser courts as judges in the greater courts 2 years after the date of their appointment to the lesser courts.

Those appointed as judges in the higher appeals courts are required to have worked at least ten years in a legal capacity since their license or baccalaureate, or an Islamic Shari'ah authorization or equivalent thereof in the shari'ah sciences. It is lawful to appoint judges from the greater courts as judges in the higher appeals courts 4 years after the date of their appointment as judges to the greater courts.

Article - 28 - In exception to the regulations of the second paragraph of article (26), Bahraini judges not meeting the conditions stated in that paragraph shall retain their positions until the time of their service ends according to legal regulation.

Article - 29 - The Chairman of the Higher Appeals Court, its judges and the Chairman of the Greater Court are appointed to and dismissed from their positions by a decree based on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Department of Justice.

The judges of the Greater Court or the Lesser Courts are appointed to as well as dismissed from their positions by decision of the Council of Ministers by a decision based on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Department of Justice.

[ILLEGIBLE OR POSSIBLY TRUNCATED TEXT] the Greater Court and are dismissed from their positions by a draft [law] based on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Department of Justice.

Judges of the Greater Court or the Lesser Court are appointed and dismissed from their positions by decision of the State Council, based on the recommendation of the Chairman of the Department of Justice.


Part 2: Duties of Judges[edit]

Article - 30 - Before taking up their employment, the chairmen of the courts and their deputies, and the judges, are required to take a public oath to adjudicate among the people justly and to respect the laws and system of the country.

The oath by the chairmen of the appellate courts and their deputies and jusges, and the chairmen of the greater courts shall be taken before the ruler of the country, in the presence of the Chairman of the Department of Justice.

The oath by the judges of the greater courts and their deputies, and the judges of the lesser courts shall be taken before the Chairman of the Department of Justice, in the presence of the Court Administration Director.

Article - 31 - It is unlawful to combine judgeship with engaging in business or any other occupation unbecoming of the dignity and independence of the judiciary.

Article - 32 - It is absolutely unlawful for a judge to express an opinion in the disputes presented to him, or to offer advice to the litigants or their lawyers, or to speak to them regarding those disputes directly or indirectly, before issuing a verdict. It is unlawful for judges to divulge confidential information from deliberations.

Article - 33 - It is unlawful for a judge to act as an arbitrator except in legally specified circumstances, even if it were without profit, unless the sides in the dispute were his relatives or cousins up to the fourth degree.

Article - 34 - Judges are prohibited from expressing their opinions on political issues, and it is unlawful for them to nominate themselves for general elections as long as they are working in their [judgeship] positions. From the date anyone nominates themselves as candidates in these elections, they are considered to have resigned from their offices [as judges].

Article - 35 - In case a judge is unfit to hear a case, he must inform the Chairman of the Department of Justice to be permitted to abstain [from hearing the case].

Even if fit to hear a case and without any reason to abstain from it, if he were to feel any difficulty in hearing the case, for any reason, it is lawful for a judge to offer his abstention [from the case] to the Chairman of the Department of Justice for a decision regarding his abstention.

In both such cases, it will be thus recorded in a special note for the case file.

Part 3: Judicial Immunity and Censure[edit]

Article - 36 - The Chairman of the Department of Justice has the right, on his own accord or based on a request from the Chairman of the Court, to counsel the judges for any infractions committed by them in their duties or in [fulfilling] the requirements of their positions, after hearing their statements. The counseling may oral or in writing.

If the judge objects to the counseling, the judge may request the Chairman of the Department of Justice to carry out an investigation of the incident that was the reason for the counseling.

The investigation is done before the Court of Censure indicated in article 38 of this law.

Article - 37 - It is unlawful to take punitive measures against the judge or to raise a criminal case against him except with prior permission from the Chairman of the Department of Justice.

Article - 38 - It is lawful to put the judge on disciplinary trial. The person deputized by the Chairman of the Department of Justice for that purpose shall raise the case of censure.

Cases of censure filed against judges shall be under the jurisdiction of a special court, formed by a decision issued by the Chairman of the Department of Justice.

Article - 39 - The case of censure shall be filed with a bill of indictment containing the accusation or accusations and supporting evidence, presented to the court cited in the preceding article, which will issue its decision by announcing the bill of indictment to the judge and summoning him to appear before [the court].

Article - 40 - It is lawful for that court to undertake what it deems necessary in the way of investigations, and it may delegate one of its members for that purpose.

The court or its member delegated for the investigation has all the necessary authority from the courts over witnesses from whom statements heard would be beneficial.

Article - 41 - The special court will rule in the case of censure after hearing the defense of the judge undergoing censure. He may offer his defense in writing, and he may appoint a lawyer to defend him. The court sessions shall be closed.

Article - 42 - The disciplinary measures that may be lawfully applied against judges are censure or a recommendation for dismissal.


Part 4: The Prosecuting Attorney[edit]

Article - 43 - The prosecuting attorney or his representative appointed before the courts exercises all the jurisdictions appointed to him by the regulations of [ILLEGIBLE] laws.


Part 5: The Consultative Judicial Committee[edit]

Article - 44 - The Chairman of the Department of Justice may form through a decision issued by himself, a consultative committee composed of court judges to give their opinions as needed in matters pertaining to the operations of the courts. The jurisdiction and operation of this committee is defined in the decision.


Section 3: Judicial Aides[edit]

Article - 45 - The judicial aides are the lawyers, experts, writers and translators.

Article - 46 - The lawyers have the sole right to appear for the litigants before the court. The court may give permission for the litigants to have themselves represented during the presentation of their defense before them [the courts] by their wives or offspring or their relatives up to the fourth degree removed.

Article - 47 - The law shall specify the conditions required for employment as a lawyer, state the rights and duties of lawyers, and the avenues for disciplinary action against them.

Article - 48 - It is lawful for the court to appoint experts for their testimony in the cases presented to them [the courts]. The courts shall assess the fees of the expert. The expert as well as the litigant may complain to the same court regarding this assessment.

Article - 49 - To the courts shall be appointed a general registrar, who will collect the fees and fines levied, and receive deposits under the supervision of the Court Administration Director, and the oversight of the Minister of Justice.

Article - 50 - The required number of translators shall be attached to the courts. It is not lawful to appoint a translator to the courts before they have passed an editorial test in Arabic and the language from which they will translate.

Article - 51 - The court staff are forbidden from disseminating confidential case information. They are not to inform anyone whom such information does not concern, nor anyone that the laws or instructions prohibit from being privy to it.

Article - 52 - All laws in conflict with this law shall be annulled.

Article - 53 - The Chairman of the Department of Justice shall implement this law, effective from its publishing date in the official newspaper.

'Isa Bin Salman Aal Khalifah Ruler of Bahrain and its Dependencies

Issued in Ar-Rifa Palace Date: 14 Jumada Ath-Thaniyah 1391 AH / 7 August 1971 AD