Kuwait: Legal Analysis
Common Courts System
Kuwait’s legal code is a combination of historical precedent, original legislation and a civil code drafted by jurists from various Arab countries.
In 1960, Kuwait adopted a unified judicial system that covers all levels of courts.
In each administrative district of Kuwait there is a Summary Court, composed of one or more divisions, each presided over by one judge. The Summary Courts deal with civil and commercial cases and leases. The judgment of the Summary Court is final in cases in which the amount involved is less than KD 1,000. These courts also deal with misdemeanor criminal cases for which the maximum penalty is three years imprisonment.
Courts of First Instance
Courts of First Instance deal with disputes relating to civil, commercial, labor, rent and personal status issues in which the amount involved exceeds KD 1,000. In addition, the Courts of First Instance hear felony criminal cases and appeals from the Summary Courts on misdemeanor cases.
High Court of Appeals
The High Court of Appeals hears appeals on judgments from the Courts of First Instance. An independent department in the Court of Appeals is the Court of Cassation, which considers cases relating to civil, commercial, labor and personal status issues and certain criminal cases.
Superior Constitutional Court
The Superior Constitutional Court is the highest level of the Kuwaiti judiciary. The Superior Constitutional Court interprets the constitution and deals with disputes related to the constitutionality of laws, statutes and by-laws. The judgment of the Constitutional Court is binding on all lower courts.