Types of Law in Pakistan: A Comparative Study

Types of Law in Pakistan, a country with a rich cultural heritage, boasts a legal system deeply rooted in the common law traditions of England and the United States. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the Pakistani legal framework, shedding light on its citation formats, court structure, constitutional foundations, statutory regulations, and specialized courts.

I. Case Citations in Pakistan

Understanding how legal cases are cited in Pakistan is fundamental for legal professionals and researchers. Case citations follow a specific format:

Creating a table to illustrate how legal cases are cited in Pakistan:

ComponentFormat Example
Case NameMuhammad v. State
Year of Reporter(1986)
Volume Number38
Reporter AbbreviationPLD
Court Abbreviation/Province(SC) (Pak.)
First Page13
Specific Material Page(s)N/A
Year of Decision(Pak.)
Country AbbreviationN/A

In the example provided, the caseMuhammad v. State” is cited as follows:

  • Case Name: Muhammad v. State
  • Year of Reporter: (1986)
  • Volume Number: 38
  • Reporter Abbreviation: PLD
  • Court Abbreviation/Province: (SC) (Pak.)
  • First Page: 13
  • Specific Material Page(s): N/A
  • Year of Decision: (Pak.)
  • Country Abbreviation: N/A

This table visually breaks down the components of a legal case citation in Pakistan, making it easier to understand the format used in legal documentation

2023 Top 50 Law School Rankings & Comparisons

InstituteCityDegree, DurationFeeDeadline
1. Government College UniversityLahoreBS , 4 Years024-09-2023
2. Kinnaird College For WomenLahoreLLB , 5 Years11610021-07-2023
3. University Of The PunjabLahoreLLB [HONS] , 5 Years2151025-09-2023
4. Green International UniversityLahoreLLB , 5 Years011-11-2023
5. Lahore Leads UniversityLahoreLLB , 5 Years001-11-2023
6. Lahore University Of Management SciencesLahoreLLB , 5 Years68040029-03-2023
7. Minhaj UniversityLahoreBS , 5 Years12000012-08-2022
8. The Superior UniversityLahoreLLB , 3 Years13000028-09-2023
9. The University Of Lahore ( Main Campus )LahoreLLB , 5 Years19540031-10-2023
10. University Of Central PunjabLahoreLLB , 5 Years34100016-10-2023
11. University Of Management And TechnologyLahoreLLB , 5 Years37475028-10-2023
12. University Of South AsiaLahoreLLB , 5 Years14000005-11-2022
13. Riphah International University LahoreLahoreLLB , 5 Years17000030-09-2023
14. University College LahoreLahoreLLB [HONS] , 5 Years015-08-2014
15. University Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years024-11-2021
16. Alley Group Of CollegesLahoreBS (HONS) , 5 Years012-08-2023
17. Amna Inayat Medical & Educational CampusLahoreLLB , 5 Years005-01-2023
18. Asian Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3/5 Years007-01-2017
19. City Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years005-12-2015
20. Global Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3/5 Years012-11-2022
21. Hamayat Islam Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years014-10-2017
22. Himayat-e-islam Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years020-11-2021
23. Himayat-i-islam Degree College For WomenLahoreLLB , 3 Years001-01-1970
24. Ivy College Of Management SciencesLahoreLLB [HONS] , 5 Years030-09-2021
25. Lahore Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years029-04-2023
26. Lahore School Of LawLahoreLLB , 5 Years030-11-2023
27. Leads Law College, TownshipLahoreLLB , 5 Years031-03-2019
28. Lords Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 5 Years005-11-2023
29. National Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years019-10-2019
30. P S E CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years019-01-2021
31. Pak Vision CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years007-01-2017
32. Pakistan College Of LawLahoreLLB , 3 Years024-08-2016
33. Punjab Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 5 Years030-09-2015
34. Punjab Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years030-09-2015
35. Quaid-e-azam Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years030-10-2023
36. Ravi Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 5 Years006-01-2023
37. Riphah College Of Veterinary SciencesLahoreLLB , 4 Years009-10-2023
38. School Of LawLahoreLLB , 3 Years015-12-2021
39. Shams Tabrez Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years020-01-2022
40. Superior College Of LawLahoreLLB , 4 Years011-10-2022
41. The Future CollegeLahoreLLB , 5 Years031-03-2021
42. The Institute Of Legal StudiesLahoreLLB [HONS] , 5 Years004-11-2022
43. The Limit Group Of CollegesLahoreLLB , 3 Years3500007-03-2020
44. The Millennium University CollegeLahoreLLB , 5 Years021-08-2021
45. Toppers Law CollegeLahoreBA [PASS] , 5 Years015-11-2023
46. Toppers Law CollegeLahoreLLB , 3 Years030-11–0001
47. Institute Of LawLahoreLLB , 3 Years030-10-2020
48. Wise Institute Of Law & Judicial AcademyLahoreLLB , 3 Years030-11-2015
49. Bahauddin Zakariya University, Lahore CampusLahoreLLB [HONS] , 5 Years3200030-11–0001
50. Bahauddin Zakariya University, Lahore CampusLahoreLLB , 3 Years3200030-11–0001

II. Courts and Specialized Courts

The Pakistani court system is structured hierarchically. Specialized courts, notably the Federal Shariat Court (FSC), play a crucial role in cases related to Islamic law. The FSC’s decisions are subject to review by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC), ensuring a checks-and-balances mechanism within the legal system.

III. Legal Reporters

Legal researchers rely on various publications, such as All-Pakistan Legal Decisions, Supreme Court Monthly Review, and Pakistan Law Journal. These reporters publish judgments, statutes, and regulations, forming the backbone of legal research in Pakistan.

Legal reporters play a vital role in legal research and documentation. Some of the commonly cited publications in Pakistan include:

  • All-Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD)
  • Supreme Court Monthly Review (SCMR)
  • Civil Law Cases (CLC)
  • Pakistan Criminal Law Journal (PCrLJ)
  • Pakistan Tax Decisions (PTD)
  • Pakistan Labour Cases (PLC)
  • Corporate Law Decisions (CLD)
  • Monthly Law Digest (MLD)
  • Yearly Law Reporter (YLR)
  • Pakistan Law Journal (PLJ)
  • National Law Reporter (NLR)
  • Karachi Law Reports (KLR)

IV. Constitutional Framework

Pakistan’s constitutional journey since its inception in 1947 has resulted in three constitutions. Citing the constitution and its amendments follows a specific format: Pakistan Const. art. 4, § 2, cl. a. Understanding the constitutional framework is pivotal in comprehending the legal rights and responsibilities of Pakistani citizens.

V. Statutes and Legislation

Navigating through Pakistani statutes involves referencing the Pakistan Code (Pak. Code), the primary official source. Commercial law publishers, like All-Pakistan Legal Decisions and Pakistan Law Journal, also provide updated statutes. Citation formats vary, but adherence to official sources is crucial for accuracy.

VI. Provincial Legislation

Provincial laws are compiled in provincial codes, such as the Punjab Code and the Sindh Code. Each province has its official gazette, which publishes local bills and acts. Online resources, like Punjab Laws Online, provide access to provincial legislation.

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VII. Session Laws

Session laws, including amendments, are published in official gazettes. These can also be found in commercial law publications, ensuring accessibility. Citing session laws accurately is essential for legal research and academic pursuits.


A profound understanding of Pakistan’s legal system is imperative for legal professionals, scholars, and the general public. By grasping the intricacies of case citations, court structures, constitutional foundations, statutory regulations, and specialized courts, one can navigate the legal landscape effectively. Access to reliable legal reporters and official publications ensures the accuracy and depth of legal research. As Pakistan continues to evolve, a robust legal framework remains essential for a just and progressive society.

Frequently asked questions

1. What is the legal system in Pakistan based on?

The legal system in Pakistan is primarily based on the common law system, heavily influenced by the legal traditions of England and the United States.

2. How are legal cases cited in Pakistan?

Legal cases in Pakistan are cited using a specific format that includes the case name, year of the reporter, volume number, reporter abbreviation, court abbreviation or province (if applicable), first page, page(s) of specific material (if desired), year of decision (if different from the year of the reporter), and country abbreviation (if not evident from context).

3. Are there specialized courts in Pakistan?

Yes, Pakistan has specialized courts, including the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) that deals with cases related to Islamic law. The decisions of the FSC can be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC).

4. What are some commonly cited legal reporters in Pakistan?

Commonly cited legal reporters in Pakistan include All-Pakistan Legal Decisions (PLD), Supreme Court Monthly Review (SCMR), Civil Law Cases (CLC), Pakistan Criminal Law Journal (PCrLJ), Pakistan Tax Decisions (PTD), Pakistan Labour Cases (PLC), Corporate Law Decisions (CLD), Monthly Law Digest (MLD), Yearly Law Reporter (YLR), Pakistan Law Journal (PLJ), National Law Reporter (NLR), and Karachi Law Reports (KLR).

5. How many constitutions has Pakistan had since its creation?

Pakistan has had three constitutions since its creation in 1947. The current constitution, in effect since 1973, has undergone several amendments.

6. How is the Pakistani constitution cited?

The Pakistani constitution and its amendments are cited using specific formats, such as “Pakistan Const. art. 4, § 2, cl. a.”

7. What are the primary sources for statutes in Pakistan?

The primary source for statutes in Pakistan is the Pakistan Code (Pak. Code). However, commercial law publishers also play a significant role in statute publication.

8. Is there provincial legislation in Pakistan?

Yes, Pakistan has provincial legislation, which complements federal laws. Each province has its own set of laws and is governed by provincial codes.

9. What are session laws in Pakistan, and how are they cited?

Session laws in Pakistan refer to laws passed during specific legislative sessions. These session laws are published in official gazettes. They can also be found in private commercial law publications and are cited using formats like “<regulation name> (<year>), <volume number> <reporter abbreviation> <first page>, <page(s) of specific material, if desired> (<country abbreviation if not evident from context>).”

10. How can I access legal resources and documents related to Pakistan’s legal system?

To access legal resources and documents, you can explore official government websites, legal databases, and libraries. Additionally, commercial law publishers provide bound volumes of legal publications, making them accessible to legal professionals and researchers.

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