Country Profile: Panama

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Panama (República de Panamá), based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Panama’s Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status.

Country Background

Panama is located in Central America bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean. It is bounded by Colombia and Costa Rica. The capital of Panama is Panama City. The official language is Spanish. The country’s population in 2016 was approximately 4 million. Panama is a predominantly Christian country, with about 85% of the population Roman Catholic.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Panama is referred to as a presidential republic with a civil law system. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. 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 Panama.

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Panama.

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Panama has no official school of Islamic law. 

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

 Unofficial Databases


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].