Source of Law in Indonesia, from Written to Unwritten


According to the source of law in Indonesia, there are 2 kinds of the main classification; written and unwritten laws. In general, people may have known it well but they haven’t recognized one another. Some of the laws are based on society’s value. Thus, it is different from the prevailing cultural, political, situs judi poker or religious environment.

Generally, Indonesia adopts an intermixed of 2 kinds of civil law systems. They are Roman-Dutch and customary law. A long time before the colonization, the native kingdoms ruled each of their territories independently. At that time, they have arranged everything in their own customary law named adat.

The presence of Dutch colonization for 350 years, there is a significant legacy that can be seen from Indonesian law. Following its proclamation and Independence Day in 1945, Indonesia has started to form modern Indonesian law. Instead of truly forming a new one, the government chose to modify several points of the existing laws.

source of law
source of law

Written Laws

The official enactment procedure of the written laws has been legitimated since the existence of Law Number 12 2011, specifically on Enactment of Laws. Generally, the main source of law in Indonesia is from the Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 (UUD ’45).

Although has been replaced by the Federal Constitution of 1950 and the Temporary Constitution a moment later, the system turns back to the UUD ’45 again. The former President, Soekarno, has enacted this crucial moment by Presidential Decree on July 5, 1959.

Rather than changing to the new law, the government has amended the authentic UUD ’45 for 4 times; in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. The amendment successfully ads some matters regarding the parliamentary system, human rights, and the newest issues. To accommodate various needs of it, there are some kinds of written laws below.

  1. Government Regulation in Lieu of Act (Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-Undang); it is a law drafted by DPR that includes the President’s consent. In an emergency case, the current President can establish immediately a Perpu/ Government Regulation in Lieu of Acts.
  2. Government Regulation; the Peraturan Pemerintah/ PP is assigned by the President to enforce Laws.
  3. Presidential Regulation; this Peraturan Presiden/ Perpres is assigned by President within his power and authority.
  4. Regional Regulation ( Peraturan Daerah/ Perda); it is originally drafted by DPRD with the regional’s consent.
source of law
source of law

Unwritten Laws

There are numerous laws when it comes to customary or unwritten laws. It refers to every kind of law that is not promulgated by the state authority. Specifically, in TAP MPR with Number III/MPR/2000 of Source of Law and the Hierarchy of Laws and Regulations, in Paragraph 2 Article I, it determines that both written and unwritten laws have a huge impact to Indonesian history.

  1. Custom (kebiasaan); although it is not enacted by the government, it has a similar condition in society that always abided to.
  2. Adat Law (hukum adat); a set of traditional laws that is only valid on where the region of the originated adat law born.

Along with these laws, several conditions can be turned as a law in society, like Syariah law principles for Muslims, doctrine, and jurisprudence. Whether the source of law is written or unwritten laws, they have impacted society differently to be better and unified.

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