Summary: General overview of Brunei's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National Laws and Children's Rights

Status of the CRC in national law
Brunei has primarily viewed the Convention on the Rights of the Child as a set of principles to be realised in national law rather than as a document to be directly incorporated. It is not clear whether the Convention can be or has been cited in domestic courts.

Constitution: The Constitution of Brunei does not contain any rights provisions.

Legislation: Bruneian law does not contain a comprehensive Children's Act, but the Children and Young Persons Order contains a great deal of the law relevant to children's rights. Other relevant legislation includes, but is by no means limited to:

  • The Penal Code 1951 (cap. 22)
  • The Criminal Procedure Code 1951 (cap. 7)
  • The Children and Young Persons Order 2006
  • The Women and Girls Protection Act 1972 (cap. 120)
  • The Labour Act (cap. 93)
  • The Marriage Act 1948 (cap. 76)
  • The Emergency Islamic Family Order
  • The Islamic Adoption of Children Order 2001
  • The Adoption of Children Order 2001
  • The Brunei Nationality Act (cap. 15)

Legal Research:
The website of the Attorney General's Chambers provides full English texts of Bruneian Acts ( and orders ( The U.S. Law Library of Congress ( and the World Legal Information Institute ( have both assembled a selection of links to relevant government and legal resources.

Case Law
CRC Jurisprudence
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research
The Commonwealth Legal Information Institute maintains a database of selected High Court decisions from Brunei ( and the British and Irish Legal Information Institute maintains a database of all Privy Council decisions ( The official judicial website of Brunei also has limited resources relating to domestic courts (

Compliance with the CRC
In its 2003 Concluding Observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child noted the adoption of a number of laws with respect to children's rights, but expressed concern that "they do not reflect a comprehensive rights-based approach to the implementation of the Convention".

In depth analysis
As of the 2003 Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, several areas of Bruneian law were inconsistent with the principles and provisions of the CRC. Perhaps the area of national law that raised the greatest concern was juvenile justice, particularly with regard to the low minimum age for criminal responsibility (7 years). Corporal punishment, including whipping, was prescribed as a punishment for boys, children were detained with adults, and there was no specialised juvenile justice system, despite the fact that it was foreseen in law. The Committee recommended that legislation and practice be broadly reformed with regards to juvenile justice, with particular attention to these highlighted aspects of the law.

With regards to marital age, the Committee expressed concern that the Marriage Act allowed for children as young as fourteen to marry, and that Sharia law may allow for marriage at even younger ages. The Committee recommended that the State amend the relevant legislation to require persons to be 18 years old in order to marry, and ensure that the marital age does not discriminate with regards to sex.

The Committee has also noted that Bruneian law does not contain a prohibition on discrimination, and discriminatory provisions remained in various laws affecting children. The 2003 Concluding Observations specifically highlighted the Citizenship Act, which allowed children to acquire Bruneian nationality through a father but not a mother, and Islamic personal status laws, which discriminated against girls and on the basis of parents' marital status, as examples of discriminatory laws which remained in force.

Current legal reform projects
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any current legal reform projects.


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.