The legislative steps in Qatar started since the fifties, after issuing the first decree in 1954 in relation to Income Tax. In 1955, Customs Law of Qatar was promulgated, then Law No (1) of 1961 was promulgated regarding the establishment of an official gazette of Qatar government to promulgate the related decrees and laws of the government and other issues, to be considered official since its publishing in the official gazette. The legislative and legal steps were a matter of concern in the state. In 1962 a special department was established to take consideration of the legal matters, under the Governor decree No (4) of 1962 “for organizing the functions of the Department of Legal Affairs”. The Department of Legal Affairs was headed by a Legal Counsel under the above-mentioned decree until the created position of the Director of the Department of Legal Affairs in 1967 under the decree No (18) of 1967 “to establish the position of the Director of Legal Affairs”. The issues related to legal affairs continued in relation to the Department of Legal Affairs until 1970, the year that marked anew dawn to the state of Qatar. The first constituted government of Qatar included the first ministry in relation with legal affairs called Ministry of Justice, under Law No. (5) of 1970 “to identify the ministerial authorities, and assign the competencies of ministries and governmental bodies”. The forth section of the sixth article states the ministry of justice’s functions which were as follows:
- Organize the work of courts, except for the Islamic/Shariah Courts, administratively and financially, and supervise and inspect it.
- Observe the behavior of the judiciary and organize their affairs administratively and financially, and inspect them technically.
- Undertake the studies, advisory opinions and all the other legal affairs that work needs demand in the different ministries in accordance with the established rules and regulations.
The Ministry of Justice was consisting of:
- Court of Justice (later named Courts of Justice)
- Court of Labour and Traffic (were merged subsequently to Court of Justice)
- Municipal Affairs Court of Qatar (Annulled)
- Department of Legal Affairs (Annulled)
- Department of Real Estate Registration and Documentation
The Ministry was proceeding apace to lay the foundations of administrative and technical stability. The Ministry was strengthened by a selection of legal experts and researchers and worked on the development of its work mechanisms. In 1990, Permanent Committee for Legislative Affairs was established in Qatar under Emiri Decree No (3) of 1990 and was amended under the Emiri Decree No (14) of 1991 to regulate methods and procedures of preparing the legislations. Ministry of Justice has been regulated and assigned its competencies under Decree No (14) of 1991, therefore, new competencies have been assigned for the Ministry. This resulted in the formation of Department of Legal Advice, Legislation and Affairs of State instead of Department of Legal Affairs, besides Department of Real Estate Registration, Department of Financial and Administrative Affairs, Planning and Follow-up Unit that was established under the Emiri Decree No. (4) of 1989 for establishing the Supreme Council for Planning. Other departments of the Ministry were established under the decree by the Minister of Justice No (6) of 1994 “regarding the establishment of divisions of department units in the Ministry of Justice and assigning its competencies” the Ministerial bodies have been completed in accordance with a new vision that fulfills its function.