Country Profile: Kiribati

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

Country Background

Kiribati is a group of 33 coral atolls located in Oceania. The island nation is approximately half-way between Australia and Hawaii, and it straddles the Equator. The capital of Kiribati is Tarawa. The official languages are Kiribati and English. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 108,145 people. Kiribati is a predominantly Christian country, with about 96% of the population Christian.

Constitution & Legal Structure

Kiribati is referred to as a presidential republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. After gaining independence from Great Britain, Kiribati adopted its current Constitution in 1979. It was most recently amended in 1999. 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 Kiribati is based largely on English common law and is supplemented by customary laws/traditions.

Constitutional Status of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no constitutional status in Kiribati. 

Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law

Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Kiribati. 

Dominant School of Islamic Law

Kiribati has no official school of Islamic law. 

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].