Country Profile: Liberia

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

Country Background

Liberia is a country located in Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded by Cote d'Ivoire, Sierra Leon, and Guinea. The capital of Liberia is Monrovia. Liberia, referred to as Africa’s oldest democracy, was founded in 1822 by U.S. President James Monroe as a safe haven for emancipated slaves. The official language is English. However, 20+ indigenous languages are also spoken in Liberia. The country’s population in 2017 was approximately 4.7 million. Liberia is a predominantly Christian country, with about 86% of the population Christian. Islam is the largest minority religion in Liberia, and Muslims make up about 12% of the population. 

Constitution & Legal Structure

Liberia is referred to as a presidential republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The current Constitution of Liberia was adopted in 1986. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legal system of Liberia is a mixed legal system of common law (based on Anglo-American law) and customary law.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Liberia. 

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Liberia. 

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Liberia has no official school of Islamic law. The vast majority of the Muslim population in the country is Sunnī (adhering to the Mālikī school).

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

Unofficial Databases

  • FAOLEX: Liberia (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) database of national laws and regulations on food, agriculture, and renewable natural resources.
  • NATLEX: Liberia (International Labour Organization) database of national laws on labor, social security, and related human rights.
  • RefWorld Legal Information: Liberia (UNHCR)
  • WIPO Lex: Liberia (World Intellectual Property Organization)


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. 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].