Arab World

 

01. Morocco > Legal System


Morocco's legal system consists of secular courts based on French legal tradition, and courts based on Jewish and Islamic traditions. The Supreme Council of the Judiciary regulates the judiciary and is presided over by the king. Judges are appointed on the advice of the council. Judges in the secular system are university-trained.
Courts of the First Instance handle appeals, civil affairs, disputes related to personal and successional statutes and commercial, administrative and social cases. Regional and District courts deal with all affairs related with personal and property actions brought against persons living in the same district of their jurisdiction. Appeal Courts hear appeals from first instance courts and orders rendered by their presidents. The Supreme Court (Majlis el Aala) is responsible for the interpretation of the law and regulates the jurisprudence of the courts and tribunals of the kingdom. It sits at Rabat and is divided into five chambers. The Special Court was created in 1965 in order to deal with corruption among public officials. There is also a military court for cases involving military personnel and occasionally matters pertaining to state security.
There are 27 Sadad courts, which are courts of first instance for Muslim and Jewish personal law. Criminal and civil cases are heard, and cases with penalties exceeding a certain monetary amount may be appealed to regional courts. The Sadad courts are divided into Shari'ah; Rabbinical; Civil, Commercial, and Administrative sections; and a criminal section.
On 25 January 2004, the government adopted a new Family Law which granted women new rights e.g. equal divorce rights; right to be joint head of household.

Human rights are limited in Morocco. Citizens do not have the right to change the constitutional provisions establishing the monarchy or the practice of Islam. There have been recent reports of torture and other abuses by the security forces. Arrests can be arbitrary, and the judiciary is not viewed as independent. Prison conditions are poor. Freedom of speech and the press is limited, and corruption is widespread.


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