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Southeast Asian Legal Research Guide: Legislation

Hierarchy of Rules and Regulations

Dutch presence in, and colonial occupation of, Indonesia for 350 years has left a legacy of Dutch colonial law, which is reflected in the Indonesian Civil Code, Indonesian Commercial Code and Indonesian Criminal Code. Following independence in 1945, the nation started to establish its own modern Indonesian law, modifying existing Dutch legal principles and drawing from the customary law that existed before Dutch colonization. The hierarchy of rules and regulations in Indonesia is outlined under Article 7 of Law No. 12 of 2011 on the Formulation of Law and Regulations:

  1. 1945 Constitution
  2. The “Decree of the People’s Representative Assembly
  3. Law (Undang-Undang) and Government Regulation in Lieu of Law (Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-Undang)
  4. Government Regulation
  5. Presidential Regulation
  6. Regional Regulation

In addition to the legal instruments above, there are Presidential Instructions or Decrees, Ministerial Decrees and Circulation Letters, which add further detail to Laws and Government Regulations. Importantly, as Indonesia does not adopt a precedent-based legal system, judges applying these laws and regulations are not obliged to apply previous rulings/decrees on similar matters.

Indonesia's Legislation

The Law (Undang-Undang) is drafted by the parliament (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or DPR) with the President’s consent.  In the event of emergency, the President can immediately enact a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law Peraturan Pemerintah Pengganti Undang-Undang or Perpu), which shall be subject to an immediate review by the DPR. Both are also subject to constitutional review through the Constitutional Court review process.

Indonesian legislation can easily be obtained through various government websites. However, to find the English official translation of Indonesian legislation can be very difficult. Below are some recommended databases (free and subscription).

The Constitution

HukumOnline English

The Indonesian Ministry of State Secretariat (Sekretariat Negara Republik Indonesia)

State Secretariat Index of Legal Products . Select UU or Undang-Undang for Act/Law. To browse, select the relevant year to see a list of the entire acts/laws passed by the parliament (DPR) in that particular year. Indonesian only.