Since the courts are divided according to subject-matter jurisdiction, the litigation procedures are done according to the types of disputes and the competent court. This includes the general Sharia Courts, board of grievances, commercial courts and quasi-judicial committees. So, our firm, through its extensive expertise in laws and proceedings, investigates the cases, prepares their statements and file them to the courts as per laws in force. Due to the development of the judicial business, the Saudi legislator has introduced the electronic judicial actions as of the case filing to the online electronic litigation leading to the delivery of judgments and filing of objections or appeals.
The Judicial System and Courts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:
The legal system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on the Islamic Law which is a group of rulings taken from several Islamic sources; the highest ranked being the noble Quran and the noble Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.
The Sharia rules are specified in a general vocabulary which gives the Saudi courts a wide discretionary power to deliver and enforce their judgments. Moreover, there are four main Islamic Schools of Thought giving different interpretations of one issue which are Hanbali, Maliki, Hanafi and Shafi’i. Hanbali School of Thought is adopted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but within this School of Thought there are predominant jurist opinions and others different about a lot of issues and any of them can be applied to the case concerned.
Also, there are cases in which the Saudi courts apply the jurist provisions of other Schools of Thought whenever that achieves integrity and establishes justice.
The Main Practical Results of Enforcing the Islamic Sharia are:
- Prohibition of usury.
- Prohibition of deception and ignorance, such as options, derivatives, speculation, economic losses and other considerations that are characterized by ignorance.
- Illegitimacy of assignment of any future rights.
- Permissibility of oral cancellation of POAs regardless of any other violating text therein.
- Impossibility of obtainment of guarantees for the future assets.
Other Legislative Systems:
All the civil, commercial and financial transactions and others are regulated by Royal Orders and Decrees, higher orders, decrees by the council of ministers, and ministerial decrees and circulars by the various governmental authorities.
– Sharia Courts:
Sharia courts are called the general courts where they have general powers to hear the civil and personal status cases.
The general Sharia courts have wide powers in the enforcement of Sharia rulings to a certain incident.
Pursuant to the general Sharia principles, such courts have jurisdiction over any case brought thereto where they decide thereon in terms of Sharia taking in consideration all the surrounding circumstances of the case.
The Sharia courts have discretionary power to prevent or amend the enforcement of any clause of a contract or an obligation so long as the competent court sees that the enforcement of such clause shall violate the Sharia rulings. A good example of this is the prohibition of parties’ agreement to the usurious interests.
In addition to the judgments delivered by courts presided by a single judge, there are appellate courts composed of three judges, the Supreme Court and the High Judicial Council.
– High Judicial Council:
The parties may contest the judgments delivered by the appellate courts in terms of Sharia not in terms of facts, before the Supreme Court and High Judicial Council.
The High Judicial Council has two committees; one is competent to hear the major penalties such as retribution, and matters referred thereto from the King or the Ministry of Justice, and the other one is competent to review the judgments delivered by the appellate courts which deviate from the long-established rules.
– Board of Grievances:
Board of Grievances is competent to hear the cases where one of their parties is a Governmental Authority and disputes arising out of the administrative decisions.
– Powers of Courts in Saudi Arabia:
The courts in Saudi Arabia combine the wide powers granted thereto according to the long-established Sharia rules and the texts of laws by ensuring that the justice is established through examining and interpreting the legal documents supporting the rights and obligations.
– Quasi-Judicial committees:
In addition to the general Sharia courts and Board of Grievances, the Saudi legislator has introduced a number of quasi-judicial committees enjoying the powers to decide on the disputes related to the duties thereof. This is a matter of specialization for speedy settlement of disputes and offences away from the judiciary and courts. Such committees include, without limitation:
- Banking Disputes Committee of the Saudi Central Bank.
- Investment Dispute Settlement Committee at the General Authority for Investment (to settle the disputes between a foreign investor and its Saudi partner)
- Insurance Disputes Committees.