This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Kingdom of Morocco (Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah), based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Morocco's Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has legal status.
Morocco is a country located in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded by Algeria and Spain. The capital of Morocco is Rabat. The official languages are Arabic and Berber. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 34 million. The official religion of Morocco is Islam. Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, with about 99% of the population Muslim. Morocco is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League.
Constitution & Legal Structure
Morocco is referred to as a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, in which sovereignty belongs to the nation. The current Constitution of Morocco was adopted in 2011. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The royal family of Morocco is from the Alaouite dynasty, who have been reigning over the country since the 17th century, and who claim descent from the Prophet Muhammad; hence, one of the King's official titles according to the Constitution is "Commander of the Faithful" (Article 41). The legal system of Morocco has been shaped by French civil law and a combination of Muslim and Jewish traditions.
Constitutional Status of Islamic Law
Islamic law has constitutional status in Morocco, and in fact, Islam is the religion of the state.
Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law
Islamic law has official jurisdiction of operation in Morocco. According to the Constitution, fatwas (religious rulings) on legal matters are made by the Conseil supérieur des Oulémas (Higher Council of Religious Scholars), which the King presides over. Furthermore, Islamic law is applied in matters of personal status.
Dominant School of Islamic Law
Moroccan laws are interpreted through the Mālikī school of Sunnī Islam. The vast majority of Muslims in Morocco are Sunnī.
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].