Qatar is a sovereign and independent country, located in the Middle East region. It gained its independence from Britain in 1971. Qatar is emerging as one of the world’s most wealthy states due to the abundance of oil and gas in its territories. It has been presided by HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani since 2013.
The State of Qatar is a peninsula located within the western coast of the Arabian Gulf
Islam is the official religion of the State of Qatar, and the Islamic Law (Sharia) is the principal source of its legislation.
Arabic is the official language of the country, though English is widely spoken.
QATAR LEGAL SYSTEM
When the former Emir, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, assumed power in 1995, the legal system in Qatar witnessed a massive advancement towards modernization. Such trend is still operative with the current Emir, His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
The Qatari Constitution came into force and effect on June 2005.
The Constitution states that Qatar has a democratic political system, and shall preserve its independence, sovereignty, security, safety, stability and integrity of its territory, and that it shall defend itself against any aggression.
The Constitution stipulates that the ruling of the State is hereditary within the Al-Thani family
The Qatari Constitution provides basic civil and human rights. It stipulates that all citizens are equal in general rights and duties. Additionally, all people are equal before the law and there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic origin, language or religion. It also provides for the individual’s right to privacy, and privacy of family affairs and correspondence.
In the judicial process, the accused person in a criminal legal proceeding is deemed innocent until proven guilty by court. All necessary legal assistance will be provided to the accused person, in order to exercise his right of defence. The Constitution provides that the judicial authority is vested in courts, and judges are independent in their judgements
The Constitution states that the Advisory Council shall exercise the legislative authority.
The Cabinet may also propose laws and deliver same to the Advisory Council for deliberations. However, such proposals are not binding on the Advisory Council.
The Constitution provides that every draft law adopted by the Advisory Council has to be referred finally to the Emir for endorsement.
THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
Litigation in Qatar passes through three stages, namely; the court of first instance, the court of appeal, and the court of cassation
The civil courts receive written pleadings and rebuttals, but do not usually entertain oral pleadings
Proceedings in all courts are conducted in the Arabic language. The courts provide translators for non-Arabic speaking litigants. Decisions by the lower courts can be appealed before the higher courts.
Qatar has acceded to the 1958 New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
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