Nizamiye Courts

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secular ottoman courts.

The Nizamiye (or Nizami, meaning regulation) courts were organized in 1869 by Minister of Justice Ahmet Cevdet to decide cases under new criminal and commercial law codes. The new court system extended from the lowest regional level, the nahiye, through the kaza, sanjak, and vilayet, or provincial levels. It was capped by the Council of Judicial Regulations (Divan-i Ahkam-i Adliye) in Constantinople (now Istanbul), which was the final court of appeal. After 1876, the courts were administered by the Court of Cassation (Temyiz Mahkemesi) in the ministry of justice. Under Abdülhamit II, Minister of Justice Küçük Sait Paşa introduced the institution of public defender in the Nizamiye courts and revised the commercial and criminal codes. A law school founded in 1878 produced one hundred graduates a year who staffed the expanding Nizamiye system.

Despite underfunding and overcrowding, the court system was generally considered efficient. Because of this, and the fact that the new law codes were prepared with the counsel of religious legal scholars, the ulama 's opposition to the Nizamiye was diminished, even though the new courts challenged the jurisdiction of shariʿa, or religious, courts.

see also abdÜlhamit ii; cevdet, ahmet.

elizabeth thompson