Article 99 of the Constitution divides the courts into three categories: civil, religious and special courts. The civil courts exercise their jurisdiction in respect to civil and criminal matters in accordance with the law, and they have jurisdiction over all persons in all matters, civil and criminal, including cases brought against the government. The civil courts include Magistrate Courts, Courts of First Instance, Courts of Appeal, High Administrative Courts and the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court). The Jordanian civil legal system has its foundations in the Code Napoléon, a French legal code implemented in Egypt in the early 19th century.
The religious courts include sharia (Islamic law) courts and the tribunals of other religious communities, namely those of the Christian minority. Religious courts have primary and appellate courts and deal only with matters involving personal law such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and child custody. Sharia courts also have jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the Islamic waqfs. In cases involving parties of different religions, regular courts have jurisdiction.
The strictly military courts of the martial law period have been abolished and replaced with a State Security Court, which is composed of both military and civilian judges. The court tries both military and civilians and its jurisdiction includes offenses against the external and internal security of the state as well as drug-related and other offenses. The findings of this court are subject to appeal before the High Court.
Both Article 102 of the Constitution and the Code of Criminal Procedure mandate the right of an accused person to a lawyer of his or her own choice during the investigation and trial period. Article 22 of the Code of Criminal Procedure also provides that a lawyer has the right to attend the interrogation unless the investigation is confidential or urgent. Article 28 of the Code of Criminal Procedure declares that detainees should be brought before a court within 48 hours of arrest, even in special security cases, giving them an opportunity to have full access to legal counsel.
Crime in Jordan is very low by international standards. This is mainly due to the preventative measures designed to reduce crime and provide education and alternative activities for teenagers.
|Number of Crimes per 100,000 Citizens|
|Theft (all kinds)||4896.1||7410.5||160.4|
|Drug Offenses||No Data||358.48||6.7|
|Source: International Crime Statistics. International Criminal Police Association (INTERPOL), Lyon, France, 1994.|