Country Profile: Sudan

This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of Sudan (Jumhuriyat as Sudan), based on research produced by GlobaLex at NYU Law School and the Library of Congress. Under Sudan's Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has legal status. 

Country Background

Sudan is a country located in Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea. It is bounded by Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic, Chad, and Libya. The capital of Sudan is Khartoum. The official languages are Arabic and English. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 37.3 million. The official religion is Islam. Sudan is a predominantly Muslim country, with the vast majority of the population Muslim. Sudan is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League. In 2011, South Sudan voted to become independent of Sudan. There are, however, still some border disputes, as over 75% of Sudan's oil reserves are in South Sudan. 

Constitution & Legal Structure

Sudan is referred to as a presidential republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law by which the nation is governed. The current Constitution of Sudan was adopted in 2005. 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 Sudan is a mixed legal system that is based on English common law and Islamic legal tradition.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has constitutional status in Sudan, and sharīʿa is a primary source of legislation. 

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has official jurisdiction of operation in Sudan. The criminal, civil, and personal legal codes of Sudan are all derived from sharīʿa, as are the punishments for violating the laws. However, the Constitution mentions twice that non-Muslims are not to be subject to the punishments prescribed by sharīʿa

Dominant School of Islamic Law

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

Sources of Law for Legal Research

Official Publications

Unofficial Databases

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