The legal system of Bahrain is a dual system, one based on ordinary court system based on laws and another Shari’a courts. According to the Constitution, the Islamic Shari’a is a principal source for legislation. The Constitution also stipulated that it guarantees the independence of the judiciary, and no authority shall prevail over the judgment of a judge.
The Civil Law Courts are authorized to settle all commercial, civil, and criminal cases, and all cases involving disputes related to the personal status of non-Muslims, based on the laws such as the Code of Civil Procedure, the Law of Commerce, the Criminal Code, and the Code of Criminal Procedure. These courts are structured in a three-tier system, starting with the Courts of Minor Causes, also called the Lower Courts and the Court of Execution, which have jurisdiction over civil and commercial matters. The Middle Courts have jurisdiction over criminal matters. At the second level is High Court of Appeal, or the Senior Civil Court.At the top tier, there is Court of Cassation.
The Shari’a Law Courts have jurisdiction over all issues related to the personal status of Muslims, both Bahraini and non-Bahraini. According to the Judiciary Act, which stipulates the organizational structure of the judiciary, the courts hear all matters relating to inheritance, gifts, wills, and charitable donations (waqf). There are two levels: the Senior Shari’a Court and the High Shari’a Court of Appeal. At each level is a Sunni Shari’a Court with jurisdiction over all personal status cases brought by Sunni Muslims, and a Shari’a Court with jurisdiction over cases brought by Shi’a Muslims.
In addition, there is a system of military courts in Bahrain. The jurisdiction of military courts shall be confined to military offences committed by members of the Defence Force, the National Guard, and the Security Forces.
Furthermore, the Constitution stupulates on the establishment of a Constitutional Court.
A Constitutional Court shall be established by Royal Order to watch over the constitutionality of laws and statutes. The Court’a determination is binding on all State authorities and on everyone.