Somaliland’s Constitution was officially approved in May 2001. It is considered the supreme law of the land. The 130 articles of Somaliland’s constitution clearly define the role and responsibility of the nation’s government.


To ensure a separation of power and a system of checks and balances, Somaliland’s government is made up of three branches: the Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Each branch counter checks the other and has no direct overreaching jurisdiction over the other.

Legislative Branch

The bicameral structure of the legislative breaks this branch into two houses, the Upper House and the Lower House. The Upper House, also known as the Guurti, is the House of Elders while the Lower House is the House of Representatives. This branch is responsible for proposing and amending laws. 

For more information check out the Ministry of Parliamentary Relations & Constitutional Affairs


Executive Branch

This branch is comprised of the President and the Vice-President. Both elected into office, this branch holds the responsibility of governing the nation. Under the executive branch are Somaliland 24 ministries. Leading each ministry are the presidentially appointed ministers, vice-minsters and director generals.

For more information check out the The Government Portal


Judicial Branch

Somaliland’s judicial branch main function is to interpret and protect the country’s laws as in-structed and in accordance with the Constitution. This branch is made up of the following five courts of law:

• District Courts

• 24 District Courts

• Regional Courts

• 6 Regional Courts

• Appeal Courts

• 6 Appeal Courts

• Supreme Court

• Armed Forces Court

Sharia Law

Islam reached Somaliland in the early 17th century and has since played a major part in the day to day life, law and order of the Somaliland people. What is unique about Somaliland’s Judiciary branch is Sharia law serves as the guiding principle Somaliland law cannot contradict. However, there are no formal Sharia Courts in Somaliland.


Customary Law

Prior to Islamic influence in Somaliland, Somalis greatly relied on traditional and customary prac-tices to maintain order in the land. Somaliland, now being a democratic nation, has not change this fact. Even though the Somaliland Constitution serves as the law of the land today, customary law is still very prominent.

The Judiciary branch is where formal laws (the Constitution) and informal laws (Sharia and Cus-tomary laws) come together to protect the rights and liberties of Somaliland citizens.

For more infomation visit Ministry of Justice