This Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, based on research produced by the Library of Congress. Under Guyana's Constitution, Islamic law (sharīʿa or fiqh) has no legal status.
Guyana is a country located in northern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, though it also has strong ties to the Caribbean island countries. Guyana is bounded by Venezuela and Suriname. The capital of Guyana is Georgetown. The official language is English. The country's population in 2017 was approximately 737,718 people. Guyana is a predominantly Christian country, with about 61% of the population Christian and 25% Hindu. Islam is a minority religion in Guyana, and Muslims make up about 7% of the country's population. Guyana is a member state of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Constitution & Legal Structure
After declaring independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, Guyana was under socialist regimes for almost three decades. In 1992, its first democratic elections were held, and since then, Guyana has been referred to as a parliamentary republic, in which sovereignty belongs to the people and the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Guyana adopted its current Constitution in 1980, and it has been revised multiple times since then (most recently in 2016). 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 Guyana is a common law system based on the English model, with some Roman-Dutch civil law influences.
Constitutional Status of Islamic Law
Islamic law has no constitutional status in Guyana.
Jurisdiction(s) of Islamic Law
Islamic law has no official jurisdiction of operation in Guyana.
Dominant School of Islamic Law
Guyana has no official school of Islamic law. The majority of the Muslims in the country are Sunnī and of South Asian or West African descent.
Sources of Law for Legal Research
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. 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].