Indonesian Legal System

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Table of Contents in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia

Indonesian Legal System in Asia

The legal system in Indonesia is mixed (Civil law/Muslim/Customary). It is mainly a civil law system based on the Roman-Dutch model and influenced by customary law.

Legal Research in Indonesia: a Guide for Lawyers

In a globalized world, lawyers outside Indonesia may come into contact with Indonesian law, Indonesian lawyers or Indonesian clients, and the last would be better served when their lawyers have an understanding of the essential characteristics and aspects of the Indonesian legal system. Likewise, in researching Indonesian law, it is important for non-Indonesian lawyers not to limit their inquiry to their country sources. In addition, instead of looking for precedents, in Indonesia lawyers browse first the provisions of the corresponding legislation for an appropriate legal principle applied to the case or Indonesian law problem.

Any serious legal issue involving Indonesia must require consultation with a lawyer trained and licensed in Indonesia. International materials and resources, like this Encyclopedia, however, may provide some familiarity with the basic concepts of the Indonesian law, a solid starting point and new perspectives and solutions that are not apparent, sometimes, from within a non-Indonesian legal tradition. Their study may help the non-Indonesian lawyer to determine the general nature of a problem, and can facilitate a better understanding with the Indonesian colleague who may be called in to assist.

Where to Start

General Information about Indonesia and their legal tradition

For general information about Indonesia and their legal tradition, read the following information about Indonesia and their People, Historical Background of Indonesia, Legal Education in Indonesia, Development of Indonesian Law, Sources of the Indonesian Law, Historical Background and Enacted Law in Indonesia.

Indonesia and their People

Read about Indonesia and their People here.

Historical Background of Indonesia

Overview of the history of Indonesia.

Legal Education

Offering a summary of the legal education, including law schools , in Indonesia.

Development of Indonesian Law

Report on the development of the law in Indonesia.

Structures of Indonesian Law

It offers a description of the structures of the law in Indonesia.

Sources of the Indonesian Law

Summary of the sources of Law in Indonesia.

Historical Background

More about the history of the Indonesian law here.

Enacted Law in Indonesia

Read more about the legislation in Indonesia.

  • The Indonesian Constitution

Learn more about the Constitution of Indonesia.

  • Indonesia Codes and Statutes

Survey of Indonesian Codes and Statutes.

  • Indonesia Statutory Decrees

Outline of the Indonesia Statutory Decrees.

  • Indonesia Regulations

Scope of the Regulations enacted in Indonesia.

  • Indonesia By-Laws

Observation about the By-Laws in existence in Indonesia.

Customary Law

Learn more about the customary law of Indonesia.

Case Law as a Source of Law

Analysis of the Case Law in Indonesia.

Precedents in Indonesia

Evaluation of the role of Precedents in the Indonesian legal system.

Doctrine in Indonesia

Review of the legal Doctrine in Indonesia.

International sources of law

See more about the international sources of law in Indonesia and Asia, including International Treaties.

The Indonesian Government System

Study of the Government system in existence in Indonesia.

Indonesian Constitutional Structure

Overview of the Constitutional Structure in Indonesia.

Historical Background

Read more about the history of the Government System of the country.

General Characteristics of the Constitution

Constitution of Indonesia: the main features.

Human Rights in Indonesia

Scope of the Civil and Human rights in the country.

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch proposes laws. Find a description of the Legislative Power in Indonesia here.

Structure of the Indonesian Legislative Branch

Observation of the structure of the legislative power in Indonesia.

Functions and Powers

See more about the role of the legislative power in Indonesia here.

Legislative Process

Read how the Indonesian legislative procedures work here.

Supervision of the Executive

Learn how the legislative branch supervises the executive branch.

Executive Branch

The executive power proposes laws. Read more.

Head of State in Indonesia

The head of state of Indonesia is the formal head of the executive, legislature and judiciary of Indonesia.

Head of Government in Indonesia

The head of government in Indonesia is the Prime Minister of Indonesia, the political leader of the government of Indonesia.

Indonesian Council of Ministers

See information about the Cabinet Ministers of Indonesia here.

Indonesian Local Governments

Review of the local government powers in Indonesia. See the definition of local rule here.

Local Organizations of Central Administration

The central administration consists of a number of ministries and other organizations, including local ones. Various departments, offices and divisions are established in each ministry in Indonesia. See the definition of centralization here.

Indonesian Municipalities

Outlook of the cities, towns, villages and other communities, including municipal courts (when applicable), and their legal authority in Indonesia.

Judiciary Branch

The judiciary power interprets and applies laws. Find here a review of the Judicial System in Indonesia.

Main Features of the Judiciary

Read the most important characteristics of the Judiciary system in Indonesia here.

Indonesia Judicial Structure

Report of the Court Organization and Jurisdiction in Indonesia.
The Courts in Indonesia may be divided into:

  • High Courts

Description of the functioning of high courts in Indonesia.

  • Lower Courts

Summary of the roles of courts of lesser rank.


Information about rules that influence sentencing in Indonesia.

Participants in the Administration of Justice

Survey about the players in the Administration of Justice in Indonesia and other countries.


Information about the impartial administration of justice, the independence and status of the judiciary and other issues related to Judges in Indonesia.

Public Prosecutors

The role of those government officials who represent, in Indonesia, legal authorities (often prosecuting criminal actions in Indonesia and Asia).

The practice of law

More about the practice of law in Indonesia and Asia.

The legal professions

Outline of the legal professions in Indonesia and Asia.

Practitioners (Lawyers and others)

Learn about the legal role of practitioners, specially lawyers.

Notary-Public in Indonesia

Overview about Public Notaries practising in Indonesia.

Court reporter – Clerks

Overview of Court reporters and Clerks in Indonesian and Asian courthouses.

Civil Law Procedure

Outlook of the main features of the Indonesian civil process, including:

Pretrial Proceedings in Indonesia

Information about what pretrial proceedings consist of.

The Trial in Indonesia

Review of the judicial examinations in civil or criminal actions in Indonesia.

Civil Litigation

Overview of the steps of litigation in Indonesia, the litigator’s role and the types of civil litigation in the country here.


Evidence law outline in Indonesia.

The Judgment

Outlook of the tribunal decisions in Indonesia. For Judgments which are of significance as legal precedents on points of law in Indonesia, see precedents.

The Effect of the Judgment

Overview of effects and recognition of a valid judgment delivered by a court of competent jurisdiction in Indonesia.

Legal Remedies in Indonesia

Enforcement of a legal right ordered by the court. See also the Judicial Relief definition.

Appeals – Judicial Review

Description of the Appeals process and the Judicial Review process of challenging the lawfulness of decisions in Indonesia.

Criminal Law Procedure

Observation of the Criminal Process.

The Investigation of Crime

Scope of the investigation of crimes:

The Prosecution of Crime

Crime Prosecution.

Criminal Trials in Indonesia

Laws and rules of the administration of justice when a person has been accused of a crime.

Appeals – Judicial Review

When a party files an appeal, asking to review the case:

Alternative Dispute Resolution in Indonesia

Method of resolving disputes out-of-court (ADR).

Private Law

Family Law in Indonesia

Guide to Marriage Law, Succession Law and other Family Law topics in Indonesia.

Contract Law in Indonesia

Contracts Law outline in Indonesia.

Tort Law in Indonesia

Regulating claims by civil wrongs that result in an injury or harm.

Property Law in Indonesia

Real property and Personal property law in Indonesia.

Copyright and Industrial Property

Survey of industrial and intellectual property laws in Indonesia.

Foreign Trade

Regulation of Foreign Trade in Indonesia and Asia.

Business Law in Indonesia

Besides commercial law and the law of corporations and other entities, this guide provides comprehensive information about:

Criminal Law in Indonesia

Penal law involves prosecution for a crime in Indonesia and Asia. Find out more.

Family Law in Indonesia

Family legal issues including:

  • Divorce and separation
  • Child protection, custody, support and access
  • Adoptions
  • Property Division

Public Law

More about Public Law here.

Administrative Law

Report of the branches of the Administrative law, including Environmental law.

Administrative Processes

Administrative Processing in Indonesia and Asia.


Taxation in Indonesia explained.

Labor Law

Overview of the labor law and social security in Indonesia.

Asia Legal Systems

Further Resources

History of the Indonesian Legal System

The Indonesian legal tradition has been shaped by many different influences, domestic as well as foreign. More than one different legal system has coexisted in Indonesia at various points in the long country history. The Portal of Indonesian law provides introductory entries about the background and history of the law of the country.

Indonesia Law Portal

The Indonesia Law Portal provides an introductory overview of the history of legal development in Indonesia, major legal concepts, the structure of Indonesian government, the Indonesian judicial and court system, and peculiar characteristic of the response of the Indonesian legal system to development in Indonesia.

The Indonesia Portal presents the main areas of its legal system and the wider aspects of how law is made and reformed. The entries of the Indonesia Law Portal include consideration of the primary features of the Indonesian legal system, including the Indonesian legal history, Indonesian judicial structure and operation, the Indonesian Constitution and the legislative and administrative structure and process. The contents of the Indonesia Portal also include discussion of Indonesian legal actors (including Indonesian lawyers), legal education, judges and other participants in the Indonesian legal landscape.

The Portal introduces legal professionals, students and the general reader to terms and concepts necessary for understanding the Indonesian legal system, the jurisdiction, organization and authority of courts in Indonesia, and the Indonesian judicial interpretation and decision-making. The substantive areas of law such as public law, torts and product liability, property (including intellectual property rights and copyright infringements), and family law are also covered. The Portal also treats the law governing the main business legal topics: contracts, business regulation, companies and taxation. It also examines the civil, criminal and administrative processes, the procedural rights, main court opinions and the various modes of alternative dispute resolution available in Indonesia.

Useful to the reader of the Encyclopedia as a reference, the Portal provides a table of cases, indices provides even greater detail, a glossary of selected legal terms and many entries provide bibliographies for further reading.

Comparative Law and Legal Systems in Asia

One of the goals of the comparative law is to wrap up the similarities and differences among countries, including Indonesia. the different legal traditions in Asia and could be able thereby better to understand the Indonesian law. to the reception of legal systems in Indonesia and other countries of Asia, with special reference to the reception of foreign law (specially English law and Islamic law) by these countries.

The Asian Encyclopedia of Law provides a survey of the legal systems of almost all the Asian jurisdictions. Being the Encyclopedia a work in progress, the length of the entries may vary considerably. Each country section includes a description of their major subject areas of law, notes on the main compilations (or official codifications), a detailed listing of legislation covering specific topics and resources for enacted laws and judicial decisions (including references to further online sources).

Conclusion about the Legal System of Indonesia

A good comprehension of the Indonesian legal system requires knowledge and skill in a number of disciplines. The Indonesian system itself is the result of developments in law, economy, politics, sociological change and the theories which feed all these bodies of knowledge. The law or Indonesia may be relevant in a foreign jurisdiction court proceeding involving international transactions. The Knowledge of the Indonesian traditions and its legal institutions allows a good understanding of the Indonesian law, its institutions and processes and sets the Indonesian law and system in a social context.

This guide introduces some of the main procedural and substantive Indonesian principles, with a more detailed treatment of resources in the major subject areas of the Indonesian law, with access to primary materials.

The general reader and students may learn some basic legal concepts and principles of the Indonesian law, to explain how the Indonesian legal system operates, and to provide a sense of how the systems within Indonesia have evolved historically in Indonesia from its origins.

A globally focused guide like this site, including the legal concepts and principles of Asia, cannot
avoid taking many culture-specific elements into account.

About the Author

Salvador Trinxet Llorca is a law writer, professor and lawyer specialized in comparative and international law.

See Also

References and Further Reading

  • Comparative law in a global context: the legal systems of Asia and Africa, Werner Menski
  • Asian legal systems: law, society, and pluralism in East Asia, Poh-Ling Tan
  • Philanthropy and law in Asia: a comparative study of the nonprofit legal systems in ten Asia Pacific societies, Thomas Silk
  • Law and legal institutions of Asia: traditions, adaptations and innovations, E Ann Black; Gary F Bell
  • Law, capitalism and power in Asia: the rule of law and legal institutions, Kanishka Jayasuriya
  • Asia-Pacific legal development, Douglas M Johnston and Gerry A Ferguson
  • Modern legal systems cyclopedia, Kenneth R Redden and William Emerson Brock
  • Constitutionalism in Asia: Asian views of the American influence, Lawrence Ward Beer
  • The judicialization of politics in Asia, Björn Dressel
  • East Asian Law: Universal Norms and Local Cultures
  • Law, Capitalism and Power in Asia: The Rule of Law and Legal Institutions
  • Doing Business in Asia (updated regularly)
  • Copyright Law and the Information Society in Asia
  • Insolvency Law in East Asia
  • Intellectual Property Law in Asia
  • A Legal Guide to Doing Business in the Asia-Pacific


  • Asia-Pacific Development Journal
  • Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
  • Asian Law Journal
  • Australian Journal of Asian Law
  • Columbia Journal of Asian Law

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