The principles of territoriality and personality in islamic law: Is there a locus regit actum in Shari'ah?

Anke Bouzenita*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Legal systems are generally described as being either of personal or territorial validity; being either applicable to the person, independently of the locus, or to the territory, with no consideration of the person's background. The oldest legal systems, particularly the Roman law system, with its division between indigenous and 'barbaric' peoples, gave primary importance to the person and separated between ius civilis, the rights of citizens, and ius gentium, the rights of (non-Roman) peoples. Modern law systems and organizations, like the United Nations, follow the territorial principle. Under the influence of the sociological school in international relations, there have been calls to reconsider the principle of personal validity in international relations. The paper investigates if and how these principles may be applied to the Islamic legal system, the shari'ah. A number of chosen case studies will serve to show the difficulty of specifying the Islamic legal system as either personally or territorially orientated. The author will attempt to assess the implications of her findings for international relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-195
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of the Humanities
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • International law
  • Islamic law
  • Personality of law
  • Shari'ah
  • Territoriality of law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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