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Legal system

Bangladesh broadly follows the English legal system of Common Law. Directly after independence in 1971 post-partition legislation enacted in Pakistan continued to form part of the basis of Bangladeshi personal status laws, but since 1972 legal developments have been distinct. The legal system consists of the Supreme Court, a nationwide system of criminal and civil courts, and magistrates’ courts in the major cities. As typical in Common Law countries, the country’s Supreme Court can do more than simply interpret the law. It can, for instance, also declare a particular law void if it infringes on citizens’ rights.  

The president has control over appointment of the Supreme Court judges. The Supreme Court consists of 2 divisions, namely the Appellate Divisions and the High Court Division, which have distinct functions and appoint judges separately. The Appellate Division has the jurisdiction to discharge appeal case charged against the verdict of the High Court Division, and its decision is final. Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) is applied in family matters through the regular court system. The family courts are the courts of first instance for personal status cases of all religious communities, although personal status laws differ according to different religious communities.

In May 2007 the caretaker government created special courts to adjudicate in high-profile corruption cases. In November 2007 the caretaker government declared the independence of the judiciary from the executive, following a directive issued by the Supreme Court in December 1999 in accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution of Bangladesh. Previous elected governments of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Awami League had effectively filibustered implementing the directive.

Legal organisations in Bangladesh
Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Remfry & Son Ltd
The Law Associates