Country Profile: Guinea-Bissau

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau (Republica da Guine-Bissau), based on research produced by the Library of Congress. Under Guinea-Bissau's Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status. 

Country Background

Guinea-Bissau is a country located in Western African, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded by Guinea and Senegal. The capital of Guinea-Bissau is Bissau. The official language is Portuguese and the lingua franca is Crioulo. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 1.8 million. Guinea-Bissau is a predominantly Muslim country, with about 45% of the population Muslim, 22% Christian, and 15% animist. Guinea-Bissau is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Guinea-Bissau is referred to as a semi-presidential republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The current Constitution of Guinea-Bissau was adopted in 1984, and it was most recently amended 1991. 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 Guinea-Bissau is a mixed legal system of civil law, which incorporated Portuguese law at independence and was influenced by early French civil code and customary law. 

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Guinea-Bissau. 

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Guinea-Bissau. 

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Guinea-Bissau 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. 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].