This report is based on a project on the Somali Justice sector carried out by KATUNI Consult, and commissioned by the World Bank. The paper explores the political economy dynamics that have shaped the development of the justice system in the Federal Republic of Somalia. As a core function of the state, the current justice system reflects the divisions and tensions that have shaped politics in Somalia over the past two decades. Three sets of dynamics that have influenced the country’s political trajectory during that time have posed particular challenges to the delivery of justice: clan-based mobilization and conflict; ideological divisions between proponents of different versions of Islamic and secular law; and rent seeking in the context of a war economy. These dynamics have interacted over time to shape how elites have pursued power and exerted their authority, including through courts and other justice institutions. Although in recent decades these struggles have most often resulted in violent conflict and institutional collapse, at times, alignments of interests across the dimensions of clan, religious ideology, and economic interest have resulted in institutions that have provided some measure of stability, public order, and justice. Focusing on these dynamics in southern Somalia today, the paper shows how the current configuration of authority has undermined the development of credible justice institutions, yet also points to opportunities for building a more effective and legitimate justice sector. The paper concludes with implications for international engagement on the further development of justice institutions in Somalia.