Saudi Arabia approves seven new courts, 96 chambers to resolve labor cases

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The Saudi Supreme Judicial Council has approved the establishment of seven labor courts, and 96 labor chambers spread across main cities in the country, in a move towards empowering labor force within the kingdom.

The Secretary General of the council, Salman Al Nashwan, revealed that this is the first phase of a long-term plan.

The seven courts are in the main cities, namely Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Buraidah, Dammam, Abha, and Jeddah; while the labor chambers are spread in general courts and appellate courts across the country.

The location selection of the 96 labor chambers has been identified based on statistics provided by the ministry of labor and social development on the number of labor disputes based on regions over the past few years.

The plan comes as the country prepares to launch a labor judiciary and start its duties sometime around September 2018.

“We have made careful selection of the judges who will be handling labor courts based on their performance evaluation, their scholarly competence, seniority, high academic qualifications in law and have conducted judicial research related to labor judiciary and relevant international regulations,” says the supreme council.

“They have enrolled in a number of specialized training programs in the judiciary training center.”

Previously the labor disputes have been under the umbrella of the ministry of labor and social development, with the new structure, labor disputes now can be resolved inside specialized labor courts under the ministry of justice.

Under Article 34 of the Law of Civil Procedures, labor courts are competent to hear cases related to the labor law, such as disputes concerning labor contracts, wages, rights, and work injuries and compensations; disputes concerning the employer's imposition of disciplinary sanctions on employees; lawsuits filed for imposing labor law sanctions; and disputes arising from applying the labor law and the social insurance law.

The Saudi justice ministry says it has a clear vision towards labor courts, aimed at achieving excellence, reducing the duration of litigation, achieving integrated digital processing, and bring more assurance and attractiveness to the labor market in Saudi Arabia by upholding justice in the business sector.