One of the biggest struggles that Omani law students and researchers face when considering doing any research about Oman is the lack of resources for this research whether it is in terms of literature, case law, or any information about Oman. Even accessing the law itself in Oman is not straight forward and cumbersome. The struggle is real, Oman is not a popular research topic and access to information in the country leaves a lot to be desired. However, I think that there are a lot of legal resources on the internet that many researchers are not aware of and that could be extremely useful when doing any legal research about Oman. Here are a few of them:
Primary and Secondary Legislation
All primary (royal decrees) and secondary (ministerial decisions) legislation are now available on the internet for free the moment they come get published in the Official Gazette on the website of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. Royal decrees are not only laws, but they also cover things such as ratifications of international agreements, ratifications of concession agreements, the annual budget, the five year plan, and basically all aspects of life in Oman. I am also personally working on a project to make all royal decrees and ministerial decisions available on the internet for free through a platform that is easy to search on. If you are looking for any law you can now easily look it up on Qanoon.om.
Official Government Interpretations
The courts are horrible at publishing court cases, but there are other quasi-judicial bodies in Oman that publish their decisions on the internet. For example, the Ministry of Legal Affairs is responsible for issuing legal opinions and official interpretation when requested by governmental bodies. These legal fatwas are published in an annual volume at the end of the year, and they can be downloaded in full from the website of the Ministry of Legal Affairs. These opinions are not legally binding and certainly do not have the power of law, but they are considered persuasive and are evidence of the government understanding of what the law means.
Decisions of International Tribunals
As Oman attracts more foreign trade it is only natural that more cases will be brought against it under international tribunals in accordance with international trade agreements. Some of these tribunals are required to publish their decisions and details of their proceedings to the public and therefore could be found online. For example, ICSID at has details of three cases relating to Oman’s potential violation of its free trade agreements or bilateral investment treaties.
There are also certain private disputes that are resolved through international tribunals that are required by the rules of the tribunal to be made public in full. For example, domain name disputes that are resolved via the UDRP are found through the website of WIPO or ADR Forum. A simple search for “Oman” on either of these two websites can display tons of cases with full legal analysis of the issues in question.
Human Rights and Other UN Reports
Oman is a member to numerous human rights and other international treaties that involve a periodic review of the legal system in Oman and the extent of Oman’s compliance with its international obligations. For example, the Committee on the Rights of the Child requires Oman periodically to submit a report and then produces its own report on Oman (called a Concluding Observation). These documents are available on the internet (country reports here and concluding observations here). There is so much information available about Oman’s compliance with international human rights law that could be found in regard to CRC, CEDAW, CRPD, etc.
In addition to the reports by treaty bodies, Oman also participates in the Universal Periodic Review in which the conditions of human rights are considered regardless of the treaties to which Oman has signed. Oman’s documents could be seen here, this does not only include Oman’s report and the UPR report of the working group, but may also include reports by independent NGOs.
There is so much information about human rights in Oman, anyone interested in this should check out the OHCHR website and just browse through the issues page (some special rapporteurs consider Oman).
Shura Council Proceedings
I don’t think this is an obvious resource for people, especially because the Shura Council doesn’t actually have a website and does not publish ‘papers’ or anything written, however, the Shura Council has a very good YouTube account that publishes the majority of public sessions and interrogations with Ministers. For people interested in specific issues, e.g. education or labour rights, there is a lot of information that could be found in these debates, and it is perfectly fine to cite a quote from a hearing from a MP. Unfortunately there isn’t a transcript of the sessions and you will have to browse and view items individually.
Those are the main legal sources that I can think of now, there are some generic sources for information such as the NCSI and other similar government portals. Hopefully this will help someone!