CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IN SAUDI ARABIA
This article will provide guidance on the Code of Civil Procedure in Saudi Arabia. Since the country is an Islamic state, criminal and civil proceedings in Saudi Arabia are governed by Islamic law (Shari'ah). The King is the ultimate court of appeal and the ultimate source of pardon under this system. As sharia law is in effect in Saudi Arabia, filing a lawsuit has no limitations. As a result, a claimant's right to file in a certain court may be rejected, but the claim itself may be heard in a different court.
A private Saudi Arabia process service agency like Undisputed Legal can assist with navigating the Saudi Arabian legal system. This can include providing guidance on the legal requirements for filing court documents, such as statements of claim and appeals, and helping to ensure that all necessary documents are submitted correctly and on time. We can also provide translation services, as Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, and legal documents must be translated into Arabic for use in the courts.
Courts under the purview of the Ministry of Justice and specialized statutory tribunals make up Saudi Arabia's judicial structure. The Saudi legal system may be broken down into three distinct branches. The Shari'ah Courts are the biggest and have jurisdiction over most matters in Saudi Arabia. There are three levels of Shari’ah courts: the Supreme Judicial Council, the Courts of Cassation, and the Courts of First Instance (Summary and General Courts)
The Commercial Court is part of the judicial system overseen by the Ministry of Justice and was established in 2007 under legislation passed at the time. It took over the Board of Grievances' business dispute jurisdiction in October 2017. It is possible to appeal a judgment made by the Commercial Court to the Court of Appeal and from there to the Supreme Court.
The Board of Grievances is an alternative to the Shari'ah courts that handles governmental matters. The third component of Saudi Arabia's judicial system is specialized government ministry committees that hear cases on topics like employment law. Per Shari’ah, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and extreme penalties are reserved for the most heinous offenses or repeat offenders. Government tribunals not bound by Shari’ah law hear disputes arising from royal decrees. All Saudi courts and tribunals, whether Shari’ah or government, adhere to the same Shari’ah norms of evidence and process, and all appeals end with the King of Saudi Arabia. There are now two sorts of first-instance courts: general courts, which hear the most serious matters, and summary courts, which hear the most minor cases.
The Saudi Arabian legal system can be complex and challenging to navigate, particularly for those unfamiliar with the local laws and customs. Here at Undisputed Legal, we assure you that we can support and assist throughout the entire legal process, from initiating legal proceedings to navigating the court system and ultimately enforcing any resulting judgments or orders.
PRE-ACTION PROCEDURE IN SAUDI ARABIA
When an action is legally launched, the parties must often appear for a hearing within a few weeks. Written briefs are filed, oral argument is heard, and evidence is presented at this and future hearings. The sides' arguments are laid down in chronological order. The parties are free to alter their positions during the proceedings.
The number of filings that may be made throughout proceedings is unlimited. It is customary for both sides to have made all of their points before submitting final briefs. There is no discovery in Saudi Arabian judicial processes outside the Commercial Courts. Each side must use the evidence to make their case: the plaintiff must provide evidence supporting their claim, and the defense must counterclaim using the evidence. The Commercial Courts Regulation allows one party to make a discovery request to the other for relevant documents to the claim.
The two main categories of conflict resolution are litigation and alternative dispute resolution (arbitration or mediation). In an inquisitorial proceeding, the judge asks the plaintiff to present its case and then listens to the defendant's rebuttal. The decision is made by a judge (rather than a jury). There is no discovery or other kind of pre-trial preparation. When a claim is filed, the clock starts ticking. Failure to comply prior to the filing of a claim will cause a postponement of the court hearing. Claims submitted electronically are generally admissible in commercial courts, but the court may need a physical copy of a document in certain circumstances.
One of the main ways a private process service agency can help in the Saudi Arabian legal system is by serving legal documents. In Saudi Arabia, legal documents must be served in person, and the service must comply with specific rules and procedures. An experienced process server like those at Undisputed Legal will have a good understanding of these rules and procedures and can ensure that legal documents are served efficiently and effectively. At Undisputed Legal, we ensure that your papers are handled carefully and sensitively.
SERVICE OF PROCESS IN SAUDI ARABIA
If the claimant submits the claim to the court and the judge approves it, the court procedures will commence. The time and location of the court hearing are included in the document issued and served on the defendant. The defendant is required to appear in court, and if the defendant fails to do so, the judge is given the option to proceed with the case as if the defendant had shown up. The court may deliver a second notice differently to ensure the defendant has a valid excuse for missing the court date. The case may proceed without them if the defendant does not attend court after receiving a second notice.
After a claim is submitted and approved by the court judge, it might take a few weeks to months before the case even goes to its first scheduled hearing in a commercial court. No more than two weeks may go between court dates. When dealing with time-sensitive matters, the court cannot allow more than a week between hearings.
Statements of claim and defense are then traded between the claimant and the defendant. The judge will ask questions, and the parties will have the opportunity to respond in writing or orally during the hearing and provide any supporting evidence at that time or a later date. After hearing both sides' arguments and considering the facts given, the judge will render a judgment and schedule the delivery of that judgment.
The Enforcement Court will enforce any judgments made by lower courts. At Undisputed Legal, we can help to identify and locate the recipient of the legal papers according to international legal requirements, which is sometimes difficult in Saudi Arabia due to the strict privacy laws and cultural norms surrounding privacy. This involves conducting a thorough investigation to determine the recipient's identity and address and any relevant cultural or social considerations that may need to be considered. We ensure that your papers are verified and cross-checked multiple times to minimize the likelihood of rejection from both the originating and receiving courts.
ENFORCEMENT OF A FOREIGN JUDGEMENT IN SAUDI ARABIA
The choice of forum and laws is a concept that is respected in Saudi Arabia. In cases where the parties have agreed upon a different law, the court will return the case to that jurisdiction for further proceedings. The Saudi court has decided not to hear the case and will not use its interpretation of the law.
There is independent jurisdiction for each court. For instance, even if the parties agree that the commercial court would hear their case, the court may find that the issue is not commercial and dismiss it. The parties can't agree to modify either the court's or the disagreement's subject matter jurisdiction. If the dispute's subject matter jurisdiction is the administrative court, for example, the parties cannot agree to move the dispute to the commercial court (for example, if the jurisdiction is to the personal status court and the parties agree for it to be in the general court). In certain situations, agreements are invalid.
The local courts respect the territorial jurisdiction decisions. Yet, it does follow the court's authority in some situations. For instance, in family and personal status disputes and property disputes in Saudi Arabia (such as divorce, custody, and alimony). Otherwise, the court will uphold the parties' agreement. A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can assist with enforcing the judgment once it has been obtained. We can help ensure that any judgments obtained are recognized and enforceable in other countries where the defendant may have assets or other interests.
FOREIGN SERVICE OF PROCESS IN SAUDI ARABIA
The court will not consider a matter without first ensuring that all necessary steps have been taken to effectuate the service of process. It is imperative to involve the assistance of a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal to verify that all the papers adhere to the court requirements. This is because the purpose of service is to alert the defendant to the fact that legal action has been initiated against them, which means that the defendant must be served with a process for the case to be heard by a court. Accuracy and irreproachability in service are thus extremely important facets of the legal dispute, which we can vouchsafe at Undisputed Legal.
According to international legal standards, the Saudi Arabian courts do not have jurisdiction over the matter giving rise to the foreign judgment or foreign order, while the foreign court making the judgment or order does have jurisdiction. Saudi Arabia signed the Riyadh Convention, which addresses the acceptance and execution of foreign judgments and arbitral awards without a review of the underlying issue. Article 11 of the Enforcement Law stipulates that the enforcement judge cannot execute a foreign judgment or order unless it is based on reciprocity.
In addition to the foreign judgment or order to be implemented, under Article 11 of the Implementing Rules for the Enforcement Law, a copy of the judgment or decree, with the text of the enforcement order attached or sealed to it and verification from a court or other judicial body authorized to review the case in that state that the decision has become final (unless such language is included in the ruling itself) must be included. In an absentee judgment, either the original notice of judgment document or a copy of the document has been certified as an original by an appropriate authority. Papers may be certified abroad based on reciprocity and the rules set out by the nation that recognizes and enforces Saudi Arabian documents.
Judgments issued in other jurisdictions may be enforced in Saudi Arabia against individuals and businesses located there. The government of Saudi Arabia decided to join the Hague Conference on Private International Law (‘HCCH’) on July 25, 2016. The formal signing and the internal ratification have not yet occurred, although they are likely to in the near future. Members of HCCH are not required to agree to its conventions, and neither are non-member nations.
It would be a huge step forward if foreign judicial bodies could legally serve, process, and deliver litigation-related papers to Saudi Arabian respondents. Service of process of legal papers from one state to another is simplified thanks to the Hague Service Convention.
Considering the complexities that involve process service in Saudi Arabia, it is preferable to involve the capabilities of a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal when serving papers in Saudi Arabia. We have extensive experience in dealing with the Saudi Arabian legal system and use this knowledge to help ensure that all service requirements are met. This can be particularly important when dealing with foreign papers, which may require additional steps to be taken before they can be served in Saudi Arabia.
Documents can be faxed at (800) 296-0115, emailed to email@example.com, or uploaded on our website. We do require prepayment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.
Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.; Our receptionist will receive all documents. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!
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1. A proposal to restructure the legal system was given preliminary royal approval in April 2005. The new method was sanctioned by a royal edict on October 1, 2007. A Supreme Court and specialized commercial, labor, and administrative courts have been set up as part of the reforms.
2. The swearing of an oath is a significant part of Saudi Arabian law of evidence. If the testimony and documentation presented don't prove the claimant's case beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant might be forced to deny culpability under oath. In most jurisdictions, the matter is effectively over after the defendant accepts the challenge and formally denies the allegation under oath. The defendant and the claimant can request that the other take the oath to confirm the claim. The power to challenge a party was not often used in the past due to the strong religious importance linked to requesting and taking an oath.
3. Public access to the particulars of a commercial case and the documents filed in it is possible upon payment of a fee under the Commercial Courts Regulation, Royal Decree No M/93 of 15 Sha'ban 1441 Hejra (corresponding to 8 April 2020), but a party with interest may apply for an order that proceedings, or parts thereof, be kept confidential.
4. The dispute resolution system in Saudi Arabia has undergone several recent modifications, including a new price structure. Those who are unsuccessful in court would have to pay a charge equal to two to five percent of the amount of their claim. This prevents disagreements from being pursued solely by applying pressure on the opposing side.
5. During the hearing, the judge may pose questions and allow the parties time to submit written responses. A judge will ask for further arguments from both sides before taking a matter to trial. If there are no witnesses, the judge will decide the matter without them
6. The court will accept the parties' agreement on the dispute's geographical jurisdiction (Article 36, paragraph 3, Implementing Regulations of the Civil Procedure Law).
7. Unless the case involves foreign property, the parties agree that Saudi Arabian courts will have jurisdiction (Article 28, Civil Procedure Law; Article 36, Implementing Regulations).
8. Certain Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, have joined the Riyadh Convention on Judicial Cooperation. Moreover, it ratified the Gulf Cooperation Council Convention on the Enforcement of Judgments, Delegations, and Judicial Notices. A Saudi Arabian citizen or permanent resident must be formally notified of foreign litigation via the proper methods. The Saudi consulate receives notice from the foreign court via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is subsequently sent to the Saudi Foreign Ministry, which notifies the local court with jurisdiction over the person's place of residency.
9. Article 11(6) states that a foreign judgment or order cannot be carried out in matters exclusively assessed by Saudi courts under Saudi law, such as in-kind claims pertaining to property in Saudi Arabia.
10. According to Article 11(5), the judge enforcing the judgment or foreign order must obtain an official document from the Ministry of Justice stating that the issuing state has a reciprocal arrangement with Saudi Arabia.
11. Article 11(4) stipulates that documents issued by foreign authorities must be validated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and translated into Arabic by an approved translation bureau.
12. The enforcement court has the authority to uphold arbitration judgments made according to the new arbitration legislation in cases involving arbitration and dispute resolution. This implies that the losing party may go to court to enforce the award if the winner doesn't follow through. This provides peace of mind to companies and guarantees the integrity of any rewards.