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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: Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Al Mamlakah al Urduniyah al Hashimiyah)
Name of Capital City: Amman
Date of Independence: Became the Emirate of Transjordan in 1921.
A kingdom independent from Britain was proclaimed on May 25, 1946.
 

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 12 governorates (muhafazat): Ajlun, Al 'Aqabah, Al Balqa', Al Karak, Al Mafraq, 'Amman, At Tafilah, Az Zarqa', Irbid, Jarash, Ma'an, and Madaba.
Country Area (sq km): 89556
 

Political System

Type of State: Constitutional monarchy/unitary
Date of Constitution: Approved on January 1, 1952
 

Head of State

Type: The head of state is the King.
Name of Current: Abdullah II became King on February 7, 1999.
 

Executive Branch

About: The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers conduct of all affairs, are responsible to the House of Representatives.
Name of Current: Mr. Samir Arrifai was appointed as a prime minister on December 14, 2009.
 

Legislative Branch

Type: Bicameral parliament (Majlis Al-Umma)
- House of Representatives [English][Arabic]
- Senate Assembly [Arabic]
 

Note: the information below was not updated after September, 2009.
Judiciary Branch
  • Jordanian law is based on Civil Law and Islamic legal principles.
  • The court system is divided into the following types of courts:
    1. Civil Courts (also referred to as Ordinary Criminal Courts) are arranged in a four-tier hierarchy:
      - Court of Cassation
      - Court of Appeals
      - Court of First Instance
      - Conciliation Courts
    2. Religious Courts:
      - Councils for Non-Muslim Religious Denominations
      - Sharia (Islamic Law) Courts
    3. Special Courts:
      - Supreme Council for the Trial of Ministers (also referred to as Special Council)
      - Supreme Court of Justice (also referred to as Court of Cassation)
      - Income Tax Appellate Court
      - Court of Preservation of State Property
      - Superior Criminal Court
      - Court of Land and Water Settlements
      - Municipal Courts
      - Juvenile Courts
      - Customs Appellate Court
      - State Property Court
      - Military Appellate Court
      - State Security Court
      - Police Court
  • The High Tribunal, a special court, interprets the constitution at the request of the Prime Minister or leader of either legislative chamber.
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The Public Prosecution
  • The niaba members are governed by the hierarchical principle of authority. In their activities and demands, they must comply with the written orders issued to them from their superiors or the Minister of Justice. All niaba members at the first instance and appeal courts are subordinated to the Public Prosecutor. They have to implement his orders and the orders of the Minister of Justice in respect of their administrative affairs and in initiating and following-up the case.
  • According to the hierarchy of the niaba system, at the top of the system stands the Chief Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation and his assistants. At the lower level stand general attorneys and assistant general attorneys in Amman, Erbed, and Ma'an and in Grand Criminal Courts. At the first echelon stand the prosecutors.
  • The specialized Public Prosecution institutions consist of:
    1- The Grand Criminal Court Public Prosecution. It is subordinate to the Chief of Public Prosecution.
    2- Police Court Prosecution. Prosecutors are appointed by the Public Security director or his deputy.
    3- Military Public Prosecution. Prosecutors are appointed by the Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff.
    4- Customs Public Prosecution. Prosecutors are appointed by the Minister of Finance.
    5- State Security Prosecution. Prosecutors are appointed by the Joint Chief of Staff.
Structure of the Office of Public Prosecution (PDF file)
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The Course of a Criminal Case at the Public Prosecution
  • A prosecutor, voluntarily or upon an order from the Minister of Justice or his seniors, prosecutes crimes which come to his knowledge. The case files are assigned to prosecutors through a register called "Basic (Al-Asas) Register" according the date when the case is received.
  • The Chief Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation pleads the criminal case brought before that court. He monitors the progress of work on the criminal cases handled by the General Prosecutors at the courts of appeal and their assistants and the prosecutors.
  • The Public Prosecutor heads and supervises the activities of the niaba members who comply with the written orders of their superiors in all their activities and written demands. But once the court action is initiated, this compliance ceases in their verbal pleadings, demands, and submissions, which they make while they prosecute the case before the courts. At this phase, they may act against the orders of their superiors.
  • The role of the Public Prosecutor starts prior to the phase of the court hearing. His functions include finding out evidence, initiate action, investigation and indictment. The Public Prosecution (Niaba) is a component of the judiciary. It acts on behalf of and represents the community, so it is solely responsible of initiating criminal action either by itself, by deputizing judicial police or by summoning the defendant before the assigned court. In criminal cases the Public Prosecution initiates criminal action and monitors its progress before courts till an absolute judgment is passed. With regard to civil cases the civil public attorney handles them.
  • The prosecutor acts as judicial police in prosecuting crime according to legal controls, principles and rules governing the prosecution process. If the prosecutor finds out that the complaint submitted to him by the victim is groundless prima facie, he may suspend it provided not to take up any judicial investigation procedure. If he takes up this procedure, court action will be considered initiated according to the law.
  • Prosecutors initiate court action before courts. They assume the role of the claimant, submit to the court prosecution evidence, requests and pleadings. The prosecutor presents any requests he deems necessary to the court in behalf of the law.
  • After the prosecutor completes investigation in the crimes he takes one of the following decisions:
    1. Withhold trial: If the prosecutor finds out that the action does not constitute a crime or that there is no evidence that the defendant is the one who has committed the crime.
    2. Drop the court action: If the prosecutor investigating the case finds that the crime has been dropped on account of one of the dropping reasons.
    3. A trial must take place for crime: If the prosecutor investigating the case finds out that the action constitutes a crime and that the evidence are sufficient to refer the defendant to the court.
    In felonies:
  • The initial investigation is mandatory.
  • The public prosecutor, in his capacity as an investigator, approaches a case in the following ways:
    - By himself: In his capacity as someone who combines the functions of prosecution and initial investigation. This is with respect to felonies of which he has personal knowledge based on information or a complaint received from the victim or an arrest conducted by the judicial police.
    - Based on an order from one of his superiors or the Minister of Justice.
    - A claim personally presented by the party that is harmed as a result of the crime, and on the basis that such claim is complete in form and substance.
    - Referral of the case to him through the appointment of experts.
    - Referral of the case to him by way of transfer.
  • After he is finished with the investigation, he issues one of the following decisions:
    - Decision to preclude trial: If the investigating public prosecutor finds that the act does not constitute an offense, or that there was no evidence to prove that the party complained against is the one who committed the offense.
    - Decision to dismiss trial: If the investigating public prosecutor finds that the offense is dismissible on the basis of any one of the reasons to dismiss.
    - Decision to require trial: If the investigating public prosecutor finds that the act constitutes a criminal offense and that there is enough evidence to refer the complained-against party to court.
  • When the Prosecutor General reviews the three above decisions, he shall do the following:
    - If he finds that the decision is correct, he approves it, and it becomes final.
    - If the Prosecutor General finds that the public prosecutor's decision is not correct, he shall vacate it and issue another decision.
    - If the Prosecutor General sees that additional investigations in the case are required, he shall order the return of the case file to the public prosecutor to complete what is missing.
    In misdemeanors over which the court of first instance has jurisdiction, in its capacity as an initial court composed of a single judge:
  • The investigation therein is mandatory.
  • The investigating public prosecutor takes on the case following the same methods indicated in felonies.
    In misdemeanors and violations over which the conciliation court has jurisdiction:
  • The initial investigation is not mandatory.
  • The public prosecutor has the choice of either conducting the investigation or referring the case file to the conciliation court without conducting an investigation.