Majlis Al-Dawla: Structure, Function, and Role

His Majesty Sultan Haitham promulgated yesterday a royal decree appointing the new members of Majlis Al-Dawla—the upper house of Majlis Oman, we thought that this would be an appropriate moment to write a blog post exploring the structure and functions of this important entity in the Omani legal system.

: Majlis Al-Dawla: Structure, Function, and Role

Composition and Structure

Majlis Oman, i.e. the Omani parliament, is made up of two organs, Majlis Al-Dawla and Majlis Al-Shura, with Majlis Al-Dawla, the subject of this post, being a body appointed by His Majesty the Sultan, and Majlis Al-Shura being a body elected by the people. The two primary legal instruments that govern Majlis Oman are the Basic Statute of the State and the Law of Majlis Oman.

Even though the members of Majlis Al-Dawla are appointed by His Majesty the Sultan, the Law of Majlis Oman sets a criteria for who can be appointed as a member. Namely, they must be Omani nationals, must be 40 years of age or older, must not have been convicted of a felony or a crime prejudicial to honour or integrity, and must not suffer from a mental illness. This criteria is less stringent than that of Majlis Al-Shura which requires the member to be Omani by origin, have at least a general education diploma, and not be associated with security agencies.

The law provides segments of society from which members of Majlis Oman may be appointed, such as academia, science, literature, culture, and those who have contributed to the development of the country. However, in practice, there are no restrictions as to who His Majesty can appoint as a member.

It is worth noting that membership of Majlis Al-Dawla is not generally a full-time job, but the law still prohibits being a member of Majlis Al-Dawla and concurrently remaining as a public employee, unless the member is identified as a person known for their competence and experience in the fields of science, literature, and culture, or as a professor of a university, college, or a higher institute.

Majlis Oman has a chairman and two deputies, who are elected by the other members in the very first session of the majlis.


The term of Majlis Al-Dawla is four years, i.e. the same as Majlis Al-Shura.


The primary function of Majlis Al-Dawla is legislative in nature. In the combined role of Majlis Al-Shura and Majlis Al-Dawla as Majlis Oman, Majlis Al-Dawla contributes to making proposals for new laws and proposals for amending existing laws. Majlis Al-Dawla also has the mandate, along with Majlis Al-Shura to review all draft laws as well as draft amendments of the laws that are submitted to them by the Council of Ministers, before they are submitted to His Majesty the Sultan by the Council of Oman with any remarks by Majlis Al-Shura and Majlis Al-Dawla.

In addition to the legislative function of Majlis Oman, the majlis is also responsible for reviewing new development plans that the government prepares as well as the General Budget of the State. An interesting aspect of the review of development plans and the General Budget of the State is that the session conducted to review them is usually confidential and not open to the public or the press.


The role of Majlis Al-Dawla is extremely important in the operation of the legal system in Oman that functions in conjunction with the role that Majlis Al-Shura, the elected council of Majlis Oman. Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn more about Majlis Al-Shura.