The forty-eight provincial courts have four divisions similar to those of the Supreme Court: civil law, criminal law, administrative, and accusation--or grand jury--courts. Civil cases may be referred to the provincial courts by appeal from the tribunals. Criminal cases can be of original or appellate review. Provincial courts have original jurisdiction for serious crimes. The Chamber of Accusation, serving as a grand jury, hears and charges a criminal suspect. The defendant must then go before a criminal tribunal, where a panel of three judges and four lay jurors hears the case.
Each dairah (pl., dawair; administrative district) has at least one tribunal. The tribunals are courts of first instance and cover civil and less serious criminal cases. They are intended to be easily accessible to the general public and are relatively informal in judicial practice. All of these courts are governed predominantly by Islamic law.
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