This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Albania (Republika e Shqipërisë), based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Albania’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status.
Albania is located in Southeastern Europe in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. It is bounded by Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Greece. The capital of Albania is Tirana. The official language is Albanian (called Shqip by Albanians, taking after the name of the country in Albanian: Shqiperia). The country’s population in 2015 was approximately 3.5 million. Albania is a predominantly Muslim country—a legacy of nearly five centuries of Ottoman rule—with about 57% of the population Muslim. Albania is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Constitution & Legal Structure
Albania is referred to as a constitutional democracy or a parliamentary republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, adopted by popular referendum in 1998. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.
Constitutional Status of Islamic Law
Islamic law has no constitutional status in Albania.
Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law
Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Albania.
Dominant School of Islamic Law
Albania has no official school of Islamic law. Historically, Albanian Muslims followed versions of Ḥanafī Ottoman law and Bektashī Shīʿī law. The twentieth-century state doctrine of atheism during communist rule, which ended in 1991, brought a decline in Muslim practices. Islam in Albania is less a matter of law than a sense of history, morality, and cultural identity.
Sources of Law for Legal Research
For an extended list of legal resources for this country, see the Library of Congress’s Research Guide, and for a narrative review, see the GlobaLex Foreign Law Research Guide (most updated version, where available). The Constitution is available in the LOC Guide in its original language and at Constitute in English translation. For full versions of past constitutions, amendments, and related legislation, see HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated or Oxford Constitutions of the World [subscription required for each].