The legal system incorporates French and Islamic law in a new consolidated code. Most disputes are settled by village elders or by a court of first instance. The High Council as the High Court of Justice (Cour Suprème) resolves constitutional questions, supervises presidential elections, and arbitrates any case in which the government is accused of malpractice. The High Council also reviews decisions of the lower courts, including the superior court of appeals at Moroni. The High Council consists of two members appointed by the president, two members elected by the Federal Assembly, and one elected by the Council of each island; others are former presidents of the republic. Lower courts of the first instance are located in major towns. Religious courts on the islands apply Muslim law in matters relating to social and personal relationships.
The judiciary is largely independent of the executive and legislative branches. The 1996 constitution provides a number of safeguards including equality of all citizens before the law. However, it does not mention right to counsel.
The island of Mayotte (Mohere) has been administered by France ever since the Comoros unilaterally declared independence in July 1975. The Comoros claims Mayotte and officially represents it in international organizations, including the United Nations. The constitution of Mayotte states that the island is to be ruled by a Prefect assisted by a Secretary-General and a General Council of 19 members.