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CONTENTS Bahrain  Economic AnalysisLegal Information Info-Prod Country Guide  

Legal Review

A large part of the laws of Bahrain are based on published statutes, which derive from Shar'ia religious law. The Contract Law and Civil Wrongs Ordinance are based on principles of English common law, which were originally adopted during the British protectorate period. Much recent legislation is based upon and follows a civil-law format, much in the style of Egypt and France.



Bahrain's Civil and Commercial Procedures Law of 1971 provides the framework for the jurisdiction of the civil and commercial courts. Generally, the civil courts are composed of: (1) the Junior Court; (2) the High Court; (3) the High Court of Appeal; (4) the Court of Execution; and (5) the Summary Actions Court.

The Junior Court

The Junior Court has jurisdiction to hear both civil and commercial cases of claims involving small sums, and cases involving certain real property rights. Junior Court cases may be appealed to the High Court.

The High Court

The High Court has jurisdiction to hear all civil and commercial cases not falling within the jurisdiction of the Junior Court. The High Court is also authorized to hear cases concerning the personal status of non-Moslems and cases which are placed under its jurisdiction by law. The High Court also maintains jurisdiction over non-Bahraini citizens, including companies, that are resident or domiciled in Bahrain except in cases involving real property situated outside Bahrain. The High Court has jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Junior Court and the Court of Execution. The High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals of judgments from the Summary Actions Court. Judicial precedent followed by the High Court is set by decisions of the High Court of Appeal and the High Court of Justice sitting as a court of appeal.

The High Court of Appeal

The High Court of Appeal sits as a court of appeal regarding all appeals made from the High Court.

The Execution Court

The Execution Court has jurisdiction to execute all final judgments made by the Junior Court, the High Court and the High Court of Appeal.

The Summary Action Court

The Summary Action Court hears claims that may be adversely affected by the lapse of time. Hearings are usually set to take place not less than twenty-four hours after the filing of an application for a summary trial, although, in cases of extreme urgency, this period can be reduced.


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