Somaliland Civil Procedure Law -
The Somali Civil Procedure 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 clearer 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 decision was based on pragmatism, and meant that the main codes issued in the 1960s democratic Somali Republic 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The Somali Civil Procedure Code, LAW No. 19 of 27 July 1974, Came into force on 21 October 1974 and repealed the following Somaliland laws which until then were applicable in Somaliland:
- The Indian Code of Civil Procedure 1908 & 1960
- Civil Procedure Ordinance
- Indian Evidence Act 1872
- Indian Evidence Ordinance
- Execution of Money Decrees Ordinance.
The Civil Procedure Code, which was primarily based on the Italian Civil Procedure Code, consists of 444 articles and covers all aspects of civil litigation.
TEXT OF THE CODE IN SOMALI (large pdf files)
Two minor amendments made in 1975:
- Law No. 6 of 4/1/1975 inserting a new Article 80bis (or 80B) relating to a judges duty to verify and protect the public interest in plaints involving governmental and public bodies.
- Law No. 70 of 19/10/1975 amending Article 250 relating to the signing of appellants appeals to the Supreme Court.
A copy of the Code in Arabic is available here. This is a large pdf file (2.5mb) (In viewing the Code, please note that the beginning is at the end of the file and the final articles, as well as the Index of Articles is at the beginning. The print version should be easy to re-arrange in the right sequence).