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Legal system of Macau

[Macau] law is broadly based on [Portuguese] [law] , and therefore part of the [civil law] tradition of [continental Europe] an legal systems. Portuguese law is itself highly influenced by [German] law. However, many other influences are present, including [Chinese law] , [Italian] law, and some narrow aspects of [common law] .

Constitutional law
The apex of the legal system is the Basic Law of the Macau SAR, a Chinese law approved in accordance with and due to the Sino-Portuguese [Joint Declaration] on the Question of Macau (an international treaty that is officially deposited at the UN) and with article 31 of the Constitution of the PRC. Within Macau, the Basic Law has constitutional rank. The Basic Law of Macau is modelled upon the [Basic Law of Hong Kong] , although it is not totally equal, as it namely is influenced by the Portuguese Constitution in some points as, for example, in some norms concerning fundamental rights. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights applies in Macau.

The transfer of power
The legal system of Macau was not substantially modified in 1999, as a result of the transfer of power from Portugal to the PRC, given that there is a principle of continuity of the pre-existing legal system, according to which all sources in force prior to the transfer of sovereignty continued to apply, with some minor exceptions that were specified in December 1999.

Judicial system
The courts of the Macau SAR are structured in three levels and have final power of adjudication, except in very narrow areas. The Court of Final Appeal has three judges, and the Court of Second Instance has five judges. Trial by jury is foreseen in the law, but is not used.

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