Ministry of Legal Affairs (Oman)
|وزارة الشؤون القانونية|
The Ministry of Legal Affairs (MOLA) (Arabic: وزراة الشؤون القانونية) is the governmental body in the Sultanate of Oman that is responsible for drafting legislation and providing other government bodies with legal advice. It is a distinct body from the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecution.
The Ministry of Legal Affairs was founded in 1994 by Royal Decree 2/94.
The first Minister of the Ministry of Legal Affairs was Mohamed bin Ali bin Nasser Al Alawi who was appointed in 1994 by Royal Decree No 2/94 and remained as minister until March 6, 2011.
The competences of MOLA are specified in Royal Decree 14/94. Its main functions include:
- Develop the laws and legislative regulations to support the renaissance of the Sultanate in coordination with other relevant ministries and government units.
- Prepare draft royal decrees and laws and carry out the procedures necessary for their issuance.
- Review draft royal decrees, laws, regulations, and ministerial decisions submitted by all ministries and government units prior to their issuance, and publish them in the Official Gazette.
- Study and review draft conventions and treaties which the government intends to conclude, and advise the government prior to the entry into any existing conventions and treaties.
- Review contracts that impose a financial obligation exceeding half a million Omani Rial prior to their signature by any government body in accordance with Article 24 of the Law of the Regulation the Administrative System of the State.
- Issue legal opinions and official interpretations of royal decrees, laws, regulations, and ministerial decisions as required with the view of enforcing legal concepts, unifying their understanding, and facilitating the application of their provisions.
- Safeguard the interests of the government in disputes arising out of the performance of contracts related to it.
- Issue the Official Gazette and determine the suitable content to be published in it in accordance with the law.
- Represent the government in international and regional organizations and conferences relating to legal affairs.
- Any other matter referred to it by His Majesty the Sultan.
- Train and qualify Omani employees working in the Ministry.
MOLA has three General Directorates:
- The General Directorate of Legal Affairs - This is the body responsible for carrying out the legal functions of the Ministry.
- The General Directorate of the Official Gazette – This is the body responsible for publishing the Official Gazette.
- The General Directorate of Administrative and Financial Affairs – This is the body responsible for providing all administrative and support services necessary to run the Ministry.
The General Directorate of Legal Affairs is the core department of MOLA and the one responsible for carrying out its legal functions, it is also divided into three Directorates:
- The Directorate of Legislation – This directorate is responsible for preparing and reviewing draft legislation.
- The Directorate of Legal Opinions – This directorate is responsible for issuing legally binding opinions relating to any issue referred to MOLA from any other governmental body.
- The Directorate of Contracts and Treaties – This directorate is responsible for reviewing government contracts and international treaties.
MOLA issues the following publications:
- The Official Gazette: A weekly publication containing the legislation issued in the previous two weeks.
- Annual Law Volumes: An annual volume containing all legislation issued in the past year.
- Legal Opinion Books: Periodic books containing all the legal opinions issued by MOLA in response to queries made by other governmental bodies.
Annual Law Volumes and Legal Opinion Books are available as CD applications in addition to their hard copy editions.
Additional Responsibilities of the Minister of Legal Affairs
The Minister of Legal Affairs is required by law to undertake the following roles:
- Member of the Civil Service Council.
- Chairman of the Board of the Oman Charitable Organization.
- Member of the Board of Trustees of the College of Sharia Sciences. 
- "Cabinet of Ministers". Archived from the original on 2011-02-13.
- "Appointment of an Undersecretary For The Ministry of Legal Affairs" (PDF). Royal Decree 71/2009. Ministry of Legal Affairs. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
- "English Translation of Royal Deree 14/94". Ministry of Legal Affairs. Archived from the original on 2011-02-13.
- Appointing The Minister of State for Legal Affairs as a Member in Certain Councils and Committees, Royal Decree No 18/94, issued on January 11, 1994.
- Article 3 of the Basic Statute of the Oman Chartable Organization, Royal Decree No 6/86, issued on January 9, 1996, published in issue no. 567 of the Official Gazette.
- "Board of Directors of the Oman Charitable Organization". Archived from the original on 5 June 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Article 7 of the Regulations of the College of Sharia Sciences, Royal Decree No 35/2014, issued on July 19, 2014, published in issue no. 1064 of the Official Gazette.