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Oman administers a system of Sharia law, which operates alongside those compatible laws of Oman that are published in the Official Gazette. The ultimate authority in Oman rests with the Sultan and legislation is promulgated by Royal Decree. Pursuant to these Royal Decrees are Ministerial Decisions and Executive Regulations, which are issued from time to time by the administrative units of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman. The Basic Law, which is of a constitutional nature, was promulgated in 1996 by Royal Decree 101.  Article 2 of this law states that “Islam is the religion of the State and Islamic Sharia is the basis of legislation.” Oman has a Muslim majority who follow the Ibadi School of Islamic Law. The Ibadi School is a minority group within Sunni Islam. There are also other Sunni and Shia minorities and communities of Christians and Hindus.

Article 77 of the Basic Law reads that all existing legislation remains in force as long as it is compatible with the provisions of the Basic Law. A Personal Status Law was introduced by Royal Decree 32 of 1997, which addresses some aspects of family law, including marriage contracts, divorce, the rights and obligations of spouses, maintenance obligations, the nursing of children, guardianship and inheritance provisions.

Much of the legislation in Oman is consistent with that in force in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and also shows a considerable degree of Egyptian and civil law influence.  Additionally, there are particular examples of legislation in Oman that demonstrate a common law influence, of which the Banking Law (Royal Decree No. 114/2000) is probably the most important example.  However, there is currently no formal principle of precedent in Oman.

Available Information

reunite´s Summary Text for Oman 
Legal Texts

•    Basic Law 1996

•    Personal Status Law Royal Decree 32 of 1997 (Arabic)

•    Personal Status Law Royal Decree 32 of 1997 Unofficial Translation

•    Royal Decree 29/2002 Law of Civil and Commercial Procedure

•    Royal Decree 7 of 1974 Criminal Code

•    Penal Procedure Law, Royal Decree No.97/99

•    Royal Decree No.12/97 Amending Some Provisions of Oman Penal Code


•    Family Law Summary (Emory Project)

•    Information on Judiciary (POGAR)

•    International Parental Child Abduction (US State Department)