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Saudi Vision 2030

Saudi Crown Prince announces 4 new laws to reform Kingdom’s judicial institutions

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Monday four new laws to reform the Kingdom’s judicial institutions and efforts toward improving the “legislative environment” in the Kingdom, according to an official announcement.

The four new laws include the Personal Status Law, the Civil Transactions Law, the Penal Code for Discretionary Sentences, and the Law of Evidence.

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“The lack of clear legislation previously has led to a variation in legal provisions,” Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince said as he announced steps toward reforming the Kingdom’s legislative environment.

People enter and leave Riyadh's general court October 20, 2008. A Saudi court began formal legal proceedings on Monday against around 70 militant suspects ahead of the first trials of al Qaeda sympathisers who waged a campaign of violence in the U.S.-allied monarchy. (Reuters)
People enter and leave Riyadh's general court October 20, 2008. A Saudi court began formal legal proceedings on Monday against around 70 militant suspects ahead of the first trials of al Qaeda sympathisers who waged a campaign of violence in the U.S.-allied monarchy. (Reuters)

The Crown Prince said that in the past few years, the Kingdom of has taken serious steps towards developing its legislative environment.

“These steps include adopting new laws and reforming existing ones. They are meant to preserve rights, entrench the principles of justice, transparency, protect human rights and achieve comprehensive and sustainable development, which reinforces the global competitiveness of the Kingdom based on procedural and institutional references that are objective and clearly identified,” according to a statement released following his announcement.

The draft Personal Status Law which is being finalized, the Crown Prince said, is one of four draft laws that the relevant entities are currently preparing. He clarified that these draft laws will then be submitted to the Council of Ministers and its bodies for review and consideration, in accordance with the legislative process, and in preparation for submission to the Shura Council, pursuant to its law. These laws will then be promulgated pursuant to the legislative laws.

“The absence of applicable legislations has led to discrepancies in decisions and a lack of clarity in the principles governing facts and practices. That resulted in prolonged litigation not based on legal texts. In addition, the absence of a clear legal framework for private and business sectors has led to ambiguity with respect to obligations,” the Crown Prince said.

“This was painful for many individuals and families, especially women, permitting some to evade their responsibilities. This will not take place again once these laws are promulgated pursuant to legislative laws and procedures,” he added.

Young Saudi women sit in a cafe at Abha High City. (Reuters)
Young Saudi women sit in a cafe at Abha High City. (Reuters)

A draft law from several years ago that came to be known as “the Code of Judicial Decisions” was crafted, but careful review revealed it was insufficient in terms of meeting the society’s needs and expectations.

According to the reforms proposed on Monday, authorities decided to draft these four new laws, adopting in them the current legal and judicial international judicial practices and standards in a manner “that does not contradict Sharia principles” while taking into consideration the Kingdom’s commitments under international conventions and treaties.

The Crown Prince “noted that the process of developing the judicial system in the Kingdom is a continuous process, and that these laws will be announced consecutively this year.”

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