[JURIST] A new Constitutional Court of Qatar [CIA backgrounder], established to hear disputes over matters of constitutional interpretation, became functional [Peninsula report] Sunday. The court will act primarily to ensure that legislation complies with the country's constitution [text], which took effect [JURIST report] in 2005, but will also be an appellate court for disputes over lower courts' interpretations of the law. Those seeking review of a court decision will be given 60 days to bring the matter to the court. The court has also been given the authority to decide jurisdictional issues in lower courts and to appoint a court to hear a specific issue.
The Constitutional Court had been set to begin operation last October, but was delayed due to administrative problems. Constitutional courts are relatively uncommon in the Middle East. Egypt has a Supreme Constitutional Court [official backgrounder] that has a similar function to Qatar's new court.