Skip to content

The Source of Laws in Indonesia

The sources of Laws in Indonesia can be divided into two types, namely material and formal legal sources. Material legal sources are sources of laws that determine the content of a regulation (norms) which bound the people. Material sources of law originated from legal situation of the society, the economic and social situation, public opinion, tradition, religion, results of scientific research, morale, geographic development, international development and legal politics.

Formal legal sources are sources of laws which determine the forms and the cause of inception of certain regulation (legal norms). Regulations have two main function, namely as legalization and legislation. Referred to as legislation function is to enact phenomenon that present in the society, whereas referred to as legislation is a process to conduct legal reform.

The formal sources of laws can be described as the following

  1. Laws

  2. Customary or unwritten laws

  3. Jurisprudence

  4. Treaties

  5. Doctrine


From its forms, laws can be distinguished into

  1. Constitution

  2. The Order of People’s Consultative Assembly

  3. Laws

  4. Government Regulation in Lieu of Laws

  5. Government Regulation

  6. Presidential Regulation

  7. Regional Regulation on Provincial Level

  8. Regional Regulation on City/Regency Level

Customary/ Unwritten Law

Customary is the norms that adhered by the society without being stipulated by the government. For a customary to become applicable laws and acknowledged as sources as laws, following requirements needs to be met:

  • There is an action or certain action committed repeatedly in similar matter and followed by wider people;

  • There is a legal understanding from peoples/interest group, in the sense that there is an assurance that such norms developed by custom is of good value and relevant to be followed and have binding power.


Jurisprudence is decisions of judges that are followed and used as guidance as judges in deciding cases of similar issue.


Treaty is agreement conducted by two (bilateral) or more countries (multilateral).

Legal Doctrine

This is opinion of respected expert and legal scholars. Judges often use legal doctrine in making its decisions which is then referred as jurisprudences.

Play Video