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country map - Basic Information
- Executive and Legislative Branches
- Judiciary Branch
- Public Prosecution
- Course of a Criminal Case at the Public Prosecution

Basic Information

Country Flag:
Country Name: Kingdom of Morocco (Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah)
Name of Capital City: Rabat
Date of Independence: Gained independence from France on March 2, 1956.

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 16 regions: Chaouia-Ouardigha, Doukkala-Abda, Fès-Boulemane, Gharb-Chrarda-Béni Hssen, Grand Casablanca, Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz, Meknès-Tafilalet, Oriental Region, Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer, Souss-Massa-Draâ, Tadla-Azilal, Tangier-Tétouan, Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate, Guelmim-Es Semara, Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira.
48 provinces: Casablanca, Rabat, Fès, Marrakech, Agadir, Tanger, Meknès, Oujda, Kenitra, Tétouan, Safi, Mohammedia, El Aaiun, Chouribga, Beni Mellal, El Jadida, Taza, Nador, Settat, Ksar el-Kebir, Larache, Chemisset, Guelmim, Berrechid, Oued Zem, Faki ben-Sala, Taourirt, Berkane, Sidi Slimane, Er Raschidia, Sidi Kacem, Chenifra, Tiflet, Essaouira, Taroudannt, El-Kelâa-des-Sraghna, Oulad-Teima, Youssoufia, Sefrou, Benguerir, Tan-Tan, Ouezzane, Guercif, Ouarzazate, Al-Hoceima, Tiznit, Fnideq, Sebt Oulad Nemma.
Country Area (sq km): 453730

Political System

Type of State: Constitutional monarchy/unitary
Date of Constitution: The first constitution was adopted on March 10, 1962, and was revised in 1970, 1972, 1980, 1992, and 1996.
Amended to create bicameral legislature on September 23, 1996.

Head of State

Type: The head of state is the King.
Name of Current: King Muhammad VI became the head of state on July 23, 1999.

Executive Branch

About: The Prime Minister is responsible to the King. The Prime Minister may initiate legislation and exercise statutory powers, except in domains reserved to the king.
Name of Current: Mr. Abbass Al-Fasi became prime minister on September 19, 2007.

Legislative Branch

Type: Bicameral system
- House of Representatives [English][Arabic][French]
- House of Counsellors [Arabic][French]

Note: the information below was not updated after September, 2009.
Judiciary Branch
  • The judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches.
  • Sentences are issued and executed in the King's name.
  • The King appoints the judges by royal decree proposed by the High Judicial Council.
  • Trial judges may not be removed from office or transferred except in accordance with the law.

  • The High Judicial Council:
  • The High Judicial Council ensures the implementation of the guarantees granted to judges regarding their promotion and discipline.
  • The King presides over the High Judicial Council. The Council consists, besides its President, of the following:
    - Minister of Justice as Vice-President;
    - First President of the Supreme Council;
    - The King's General Attorney at the Supreme Council;
    - The President of Chamber (1) of the Supreme Court;
    - Two representatives of the judges of the Court of Appeal elected from among these judges;
    - Four representatives elected from among the judges of first degree courts.
Court Structure
I. Types of Courts
- Communal and district courts.
- First instance courts.
- Commercial courts.
- Administrative courts.
- Courts of appeal.
- Appellate commercial courts.
- Appellate administrative courts.
- Martial court.
- Special court of justice (canceled).
- Supreme Council of Auditing.
- Supreme Council.
- Constitutional Council.
- Supreme Court.
II. Basic Principles Governing the Judicial System
  1. The principle of the independence of the judiciary
    Manifestations of the judiciary's independence:
    - The principle of the independence of the judiciary is enshrined in the Moroccan constitution.
    - A judge is not subordinated to the Executive Branch.
    - A judge applies and does not create legislation.
    - A judge has a special economic status.
    - Judge's political neutrality.
    - The executive writ of judgments.
    - Judge's immunity.
  2. The principle that all people are equal before the courts
  3. The principle of free-of-charge litigation
  4. The principle of a multiple-judge system:
    a. One-judge courts:
        - Communal and district courts.
        - Courts of first instance (in certain cases).
    b. Multiple-judge courts:
        - Courts of first instance (in certain cases).
        - Commercial courts.
        - Administrative courts.
        - Appellate courts.
        - Appellate commercial courts.
        - Appellate administrative courts.
        - The martial court.
        - Special court of justice.
        - Supreme council.
  5. The principle of multiple-tier litigation:
    The Moroccan court system adopts a 2-tier litigation system: first instance phase and appellate phase.
    The Supreme Council is not considered a third tier of litigation as it sits as a court of cassation which only interprets and applies the positive and procedural laws and standardizes interpretation and judicial opinions.
    The communal and district courts are not considered a degree of litigation. They have a special character and hear simple cases. Their structure is not included in the Criminal Procedure Code and they are not capable of handling other cases.
  6. The principle that court sessions are held in public.
  7. The principle that court judgments are grounded on reasons.
  8. The principle of the unity of the judiciary.
- Structure of Judicial Bodies (PDF file)
- Courts Selected for Implementing niaba Modernization Program (PDF file)
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The Public Prosecution
  • In the structure of the criminal justice, the public prosecution (or niaba) - which is an organ of the judiciary - assumes several functions and roles in respect of the course of the criminal case as well as other functions. The Moroccan legislator has entrusted to the niaba the function of the criminal prosecution. The niaba initiates and prosecutes the public court action and has the right to monitor its course.
  • niaba also receives complaints and malicious information and conducts, or order to conduct, investigation about these complaints and applies the Extradition Act.
  • Before the criminal courts, niaba calls for imposing the penalties provided in law and files under law all demands that it deems appropriate.
  • Further, niaba assumes other functions before initiating the public action. These include mediating between the opponents, reaching compromise, protection of juveniles, protection of the children who are victims of felonies or misdemeanors or who live under difficult conditions, and even settle family problems. In exercising all these activities, niaba acts within the context of respect of law and adherence to the provisions of internal laws and international conventions.
Representation of the public prosecution before the courts:
  • The Court of Instance:
    The King's Prosecutor shall represent the public prosecution, by himself or through his deputies.
  • The Court of Appeals:
    The chief of the public prosecution shall be represented by the solicitor general, by himself or through his deputies, before the Court of Appeals. In addition, the public prosecution shall be represented at the misdemeanor chamber of the Court of Appeals.
  • The Supreme Court (Regular Courts):
    The formation of the public prosecution before this Court shall be composed of the King's Prosecutor General, and the Solicitors General who assist him in his functions.
    It is to be noted that in considering the Supreme Court a court of law, it limits the prosecution's role to defending the truth, the law, and ensuring the application and sound and proper interpretation thereof, such that it is not infringed upon when moving and prosecuting public cases. This competence remains restricted to public prosecutions before trial courts; but with respect to the public prosecution before the Supreme Court, it is a party that joins in any and all appeals brought by the parties or the public prosecution at the cassation level.
  • Before the Commercial Court:
    The public prosecution is represented before the commercial court by the King's Prosecutor and his deputies.
  • The Commercial Appellate Court:
    The public prosecution is represented before the commercial court by the Prosecutor General and his deputies.
  • The Standing Military Court for the Royal Armed Forces:
    According to Chapters 23 and 24 of the Military Justice Law, the public prosecution shall be represented by the government's representative and his deputies appointed from among the military judicial officers.
  • The Special Court of Justice:
    The functions of the public prosecution before the Special Court of Justice are performed by the Prosecutor General to be selected from among judges of the first degree at least. He shall be appointed but he performs his functions under the direct authority of the Minister of Justice.
  • The Supreme Court of Justice (Specialized Courts):
    The functions of the public prosecution before the Supreme Court for Justice are performed by members of Parliament. The two assemblies of the Parliament may bring charges against them and circumvent the Supreme Court. However, through the representation of the public prosecution before the exceptional courts, the legislator, for special considerations, gave these functions to persons outside the judicial apparatus.
  • The Communal and District Courts, and Administrative Courts:
    The public prosecution is not represented before the Communal and District Courts, and Administrative Courts, due to the fact that the latter has at its disposal a special institution called the Royal Commissioner.
Structure of the Public Prosecution (PDF file)
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The Course of a Criminal Case at the Public Prosecution
  • The Moroccan Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) deems the niaba judges the main body responsible for initiating, proceeding with, and monitoring the public action and demanding that the law be applied before the criminal and other courts.
  • The King's Attorney and his deputies represent niaba within the jurisdiction of the respective court of first instance.
  • The King's General Attorney and his deputies represent niaba before the court of appeal.
  • Acting in this capacity, they receive complaints, police reports, and malicious information, and take the necessary procedures to deal with them or order the judicial police officers to take these procedures. They also refer the reports, complaints, and malicious information they receive to the investigation bodies or competent courts or order to shelve them by reversible decision.
  • The niaba has jurisdiction to select the niaba judge who will prosecute the case if there are more than one investigation judge in the same court.
  • The investigation judge is bound to take the niaba's opinion if he intends to issue an order of arrest against the accused.
  • Likewise, the investigation judge must consult niaba in case of issuing automatic temporary release order, but, niaba's opinion in this case is not binding.
  • niaba monitors investigation. The reason for this is that niaba is considered a party to the public action representing the public interest and protecting the law. Therefore, niaba has all the defense rights conferred in the other parties to the litigation.
  • niaba also may challenge by way of appeal or cassation against all the judgments and decisions delivered by courts on felonies or misdemeanors in addition to all the decisions issued by the investigating judge.
  • The King's General Attorney at the Supreme Council has the authority to request reversal of judgment for the interest of law if he knows that a judgment which is not subject to appeal was issued in breach of law or of the relevant procedures and no party challenged it within the prescribed time limit.
  • He also may request to plead the case before the criminal chamber at the Supreme Council to correct a mistake in fact which caused harm to a person convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor if there is no other way to challenge the judgment in limited cases.
- Diagram Outlining the Course of a Criminal Case at the Special Court of Justice (PDF file)
- Diagram Outlining the Course of a Criminal Case in Felonies and Misdemeanors Associated with the Court of Appeals (PDF file)