Country Profile: Burkina Faso

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

Country Background

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country located in Western Africa. It is bounded by Ghana, Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, and Côte d'Ivoire. The capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou. The official language is French, but native African languages (belonging to the Sudanic family of languages) are spoken by over 90% of the population. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 20.1 million. Burkina Faso is a predominantly Muslim country, with about 62% of the population Muslim and 23% Catholic. Burkina Faso is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Burkina Faso 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 Burkina Faso was adopted in 1991 (revised most recently in 2012), and establishes Burkina Faso as a democratic, unitary, and secular state. The system of government is based on principles of separation and checks and balances and has three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature is comprised of an unicameral parliament known as the Assemblée nationale. The executive branch is made up of the Presidency and the Office of the Prime Minister. The judiciary includes the Supreme Court of Appeals (Cour de cassation), which is the highest court for judicial matters; the Council of State (Conseil d’état), which is the highest court for administrative matters; the Court of Accounts (Cour des comptes), which is the highest court for matters related to public finances; the conflicts tribunals, which deal with jurisdictional issues; and other courts and tribunals instituted by law. The legal system of Burkina Faso is a civil law system that is based on the French legal model and is influenced by customary law/traditions.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Burkina Faso. 

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Burkina Faso. 

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Burkina Faso 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


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].