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Article Kuwait: Members of Parliament Propose New Amendments to Constitutional Court Law

On July 5, 2023, members of the Kuwaiti National Assembly (parliament) proposed amendments to Law No. 14 of 1973 on the Kuwaiti Constitutional Court. The amendments are aimed at modifying the composition of the court and its jurisdiction.

Under the proposed amendments, members of the Cabinet and the National Assembly would be appointed as judges to the Constitutional Court. In addition, the court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate legal disputes related to decrees governing the dissolution of the parliament and the validity of parliamentary elections would be abolished.

Al-Arab newspaper reports that the purpose of the amendments is to prevent the Constitutional Court from dissolving the National Assembly in future verdicts and that a final draft of the new amendments will be completed this month.

In March 2023, the Kuwaiti Constitutional Court ruled to invalidate the membership of the winners of the September 2022 National Assembly elections and to restore the previous parliament. This court decision reportedly almost caused a political crisis in the country. Those opposing the decision accused the Constitutional Court of infringing on the right of the Emir (the ruler) of Kuwait to dissolve the National Assembly and insinuated that this decision had been “politicized.”

Authority to Dissolve the National Assembly under the Kuwaiti Constitution

According to article 102 of the Kuwaiti Constitution, the Emir has the right to issue a decree dissolving the National Assembly or relieve the prime minister of his duties. Article 107 requires the Emir to include the reasons for the dissolution in his decree.

Law No. 14 of 1973 on the Constitutional Court

The two provisions that the new amendments would modify are articles 1 and 2 of Law No. 14 of 1973.

Law No. 14 of 1973 grants the Constitutional Court jurisdiction to adjudicate legal disputes related to the constitutionality of laws, decree-laws and regulations, and appeals concerning the election of members of the National Assembly or the validity of their membership. Accordingly, the Constitutional Court has the power to dissolve the membership of all or some members of the National Assembly. (Law No. 14 of 1973, art. 1.)

The Constitutional Court is currently composed of five justices selected by members of the Kuwaiti Judicial Council in a secret ballot. The justices of the Constitutional Court are judges on the Kuwaiti Court of Cassation or the Court of Appeal. Members of the Constitutional Court are required to perform their work at the Constitutional Court in addition to their original work in the Court of Cassation or the Court of Appeal. (Art. 2.)

George Sadek, Law Library of Congress
July 13, 2023

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Chicago citation style:

Sadek, George. Kuwait: Members of Parliament Propose New Amendments to Constitutional Court Law. 2023. Web Page. https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2023-07-12/kuwait-members-of-parliament-propose-new-amendments-to-constitutional-court-law/.

APA citation style:

Sadek, G. (2023) Kuwait: Members of Parliament Propose New Amendments to Constitutional Court Law. [Web Page] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2023-07-12/kuwait-members-of-parliament-propose-new-amendments-to-constitutional-court-law/.

MLA citation style:

Sadek, George. Kuwait: Members of Parliament Propose New Amendments to Constitutional Court Law. 2023. Web Page. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/global-legal-monitor/2023-07-12/kuwait-members-of-parliament-propose-new-amendments-to-constitutional-court-law/>.