Some Indonesian government departments are only just beginning to make available on their websites key legislation in their respective fields of interest. The best free website currently available for law seems to be the site maintained by Hukumonline, a partially USAID-funded project operated by a local non-profit group based in Jakarta. Hukumonline provides most of the past and current legislation which can be viewed onsite. Operating since 2001, this website is updated regularly and contains useful legal information.
The Indonesia Legal System
The Indonesian legal system is complex. it is made up of three distinct systems. These are: (a) adat law; (b) Dutch colonial law; and (c) national law.
For example, commercial law is grounded upon the Commercial Code 1847 (Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Dagang or Wetboek van Koophandel), a relic of the colonial period. Commercial law is also supplemented by new laws enacted since independence. They include the Banking Law 1992 (amended in 1998), Company Law 1995, Capital Market Law 1995, Antimonopoly Law 1999 and the Oil & Natural Gas Law 2001. Adat law is represented in commercial law in that some adat principles such as “consensus through decision making” (musyawarah untuk mufakat) appear in modern Indonesian legislation.
The Indonesian judicial system comprises several types of courts under the oversight of the Supreme Court (Mahkamah Agung). Following the civil law tradition of The Netherlands, Indonesian courts do not apply the principle of precedent which is so familiar among common law jurisdictions.
Most disputes appear before the courts of general jurisdiction, with the court of first instance being the State Court (Pengadilan Negeri). There are about 250 State Courts throughout Indonesia, each with its own territorial jurisdiction. Appeals from the State Court are heard before the High Court (Pengadilan Tinggi), of which there are around 20 throughout Indonesia. The High Court is a district court of appeal. Appeals from the High Court and, in some instances from the State Court, may be made to the Supreme Court located in Jakarta. The Supreme Court can hear a cassation appeal (kasasi) which is a final appeal from lower courts. It can also conduct a case review (peninjauan kembali) if, for example, new evidence is found which justifies a re-hearing.
In 1998, the Indonesian authorities established the Commercial Court (Pengadilan Niaga). Initially, the Commercial Court is tasked to handle bankruptcy and insolvency applications. Its jurisdiction can be extended to other commercial matters. Appeals from the Commercial Court proceed direct to the Supreme Court. There is also a State Administrative Court (Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara) which hears administrative law cases filed against the government.
In the 2001 constitutional amendments, provision was made for the creation of the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi). Among other matters, the Constitutional Court has the jurisdiction to hear cases involving the constitutionality of particular legislation, results of a general election, as well as actions to dismiss a President from office.
Indonesian law research is problematic in that primary or authentic sources of relevant legal material is not widely available whether in print or online. The main print source is the Government Gazette and its sister publications. Unfortunately, these publications are often behind schedule. The Government Printing Office (Pusat Penerbitan PNRI) also publishes individual legislation on a case-by-case basis. Although these are useful and relatively inexpensive, they are not error-free.
The result is that legal researches often rely on secondary legal materials from books, journals and other publications. Most are in the Indonesian language and their standards of presentation and analysis vary.
Another major limitation of Indonesian legal materials is that they are presented in a ‘non-consolidated’ form. As an example, the Banking Law 1992 is available as it was first enacted in 1992. Its major revision, the Banking Amendment Law 1998, is available as a separate statute. Most publishers do not make the effort of consolidating the amendments. Researchers have to undertake their own “cut-and-paste” effort to create a consolidated legislation.
These limitations have given opportunities to a foreign online publication Indobizlaw.com, a Indonesian-English online subscription service based in Singapore. Indobizlaw has on its database key business legislation such as the Company Law 1995, Banking Law (Consolidated) 1998, Antimonopoly Law 1999 and Oil & Natural Gas Law 2001. Each legislation is available in its Indonesian text together with an English translation. Moreover, each legislation is consolidated wherever possible to take into account legislative changes.
A List Of Indonesia Legal Resources on the Internet
* Indonesia Legislation
- Constitution & MPR Decrees
Indonesian Constitution & selected People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Decrees in English and Bahasa Indonesia. Published on the Support for Decentralization Measures (SfDM) website.
- Indonesia Statutes
Text in Bahasa Indonesia of some Indonesia statutes. Published on the Ministry of Home Affairs Website.
- Indobizlaw (requires subscription)
Commercial subscription site with text in English of some key Indonesia statutes.
* Indonesia Regulatory & Other Rules
- Science And Technology
Regulations and Legislation (in English) concerning science and technology. Published on the State Ministry of Research and Technology website.
- Bank Indonesia Regulations
English translations of some regulations issued by Bank Indonesia.
- Indonesia Laws on Investment
Laws and Regulations on Investment in English. Published at the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board website.
- World Legal Information Institute
Provides free, independent and non-profit access to worldwide law including Indonesia’s.
Findlaw’s resources on Indonesia
- Law Library of Congress
Law Library of Congress resources on Indonesia
Lay Person Sources