Judiciary of Afghanistan

The judiciary of Afghanistan currently consists of the Supreme Court, appeals courts, civil courts and city courts. All justices of the appeals, civil and city courts are presided over by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.[1]

Although some individuals received secular judicial training in the early 2000s, the majority of local court officials came from Muslim religious schools and lacked judicial skills.[2] However, the nominal requirements for participation in the judiciary are relatively high, and the pay is quite low.[citation needed] The respective roles of Islamic and secular law in the former judicial system during the Islamic Republic era have not been well established; a large portion of the current law code is based on laws passed under the last king, Mohammad Zahir Shah (ruled 1933–73).[2] In rural areas, where local elders and tribal authorities resolve criminal cases, verdicts often are based on Islamic and tribal law.[2] After returning to power in 2021, the Taliban removed women from judgeships in Afghanistan. The government of Canada agreed to resettle many Afghan women judges.[3]


Supreme CourtEdit

The Supreme Court of the Islamic Emirate,[1] or Supreme Court of Afghanistan, is the final court of appeal in Afghanistan. Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, who is Minister of Justice, currently presides over the court as Chief Justice. Beneath him are two deputy justices; Mohammad Qasim Rasikh and Sheikh Abdul Malik.[4]

Court of AppealsEdit

The Court of Appeals are the court of second instance at the provincial level. Each court is currently presided over by a chief Justice appointed by the Supreme Court.[1]

Civil CourtsEdit

Civil Courts operate at the provincial level in seven provinces of Afghanistan as a civil court of first instance, operating on the same level of the provincial Court of Appeals. As its name implies civil cases currently are handled at this level in their respective province. Each civil court is currently presided over by a chief justice appointed by the Supreme Court.

Provinces that currently have civil courts as of 2021 are Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Sar-I-Pul, Kunar, Maidan Wardak, and Nuristan.[1]

City and Municipal CourtsEdit

City Courts function as the court of first instance at the municipal level across Afghanistan. Each court is currently presided over by a chief justice appointed by the Supreme Court.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Supreme Court of the IEA appoints heads of the appellate courts – Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan". Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  2. ^ a b c "About this Service | Federal Research Division | Services | Library of Congress" (PDF). Library of Congress. Retrieved 2022-04-10.
  3. ^ Paperny, Anna Mehler (31 December 2021). "Canada to resettle female Afghan judges, families living in limbo". Reuters. Retrieved 2 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Abdul Hakim Haqqani appointed Afghanistan's chief justice". The Express Tribune. 2021-10-15. Retrieved 2022-01-22.

Further readingEdit

  • M. Tondini, Ubi Maior, Ibi Ius: Assessing Justice System Reform in Afghanistan, Lucca (IT): PhD Thesis at IMT - Institute for Advanced Studies, 2008 (abstract available here).
  • M. Tondini, Justice Sector Reform in Afghanistan: From a 'Lead Nation' Approach to a 'Mixed Ownership' Regime?, in Transition Studies Review, Vol. 15, No. 4, 2009, 660 - 673 (available here)
  • M. Tondini, From Neo-Colonialism to a 'Light-Footprint Approach': Restoring Justice Systems, in International Peacekeeping, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2008, 237 - 251 (preprint available here[permanent dead link]).
  • M. Tondini, Rebuilding the System of Justice in Afghanistan: A Preliminary Assessment, in Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Vol. 1, No. 3, 2007, 333 - 354
  • M. Tondini, The Role of Italy in Rebuilding the Judicial System in Afghanistan, in Revue de droit militaire et de droit de la guerre, Vol. 45, No. 1 - 2, 2006, 79 - 118.