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Somaliland Civil Law

Somaliland Civil Law - The Somali Civil Code

On reassertion of its sovereignty in May 1991 and the establishment of peace after the long war, Somaliland started to re-build its political and legal institutions.   The Somaliland Charter of 25 April 1993, was specific in wiping away, at a stroke, the former Somalia dictator’s laws, and stated:

     “Islamic Sharia and laws in force before 10 October 1969 and which do not conflict with the Islamic Sharia, the rights of individuals and fundamental freedoms shall be implemented in the territory of the Republic of Somaliland”

As it became clear that some laws passed earlier may take longer to replace, the 1979 Somaliland Constitution (the Somaliland Interim Constitution) accepted that all the laws which were in force then and which did not conflict with the Islamic Sharia and/or fundamental rights and freedoms shall remain in force until the promulgation of laws which are in accord with the Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland.   This was repeated in Article 130(5) of the 2000 Somaliland Constitution (the Somaliland Constitution).

This was based on pragmatism, and meant that the main codes issued in the 1960s democratic government would continue to be in use until such time there was an opportunity to change them.   So far as the dictatorship laws are concerned, these have to pass the test of conformity with both Sharia and fundamental rights and freedoms. 

The Somali Civil Code (Law No: 37 of 2 June 1973) entered into force on 1 July 1973Before this date, the common law and other Somaliland Protectorate and Indian enactments, such as the 1872 Indian Contract Act were still in force in Somaliland (see Article 42 of the the independent State of Somaliland Constitution 1960).

The Somali Civil Code is very much based (almost word for word)  on the Egyptian Code 1948, which influenced many of the other Arab Civil Codes.    As it covers the whole gamut of civil law including obligations (contract law and tort), property law ( real and personal) etc, the Code is very extensive and  consists of 958 articles.

DETAILS OF THE CODE  (to follow)


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