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Saudis to Overhaul Legal System

Found this today on BBC Middle East News.

Saudi Arabia has announced an overhaul of its judicial system, including the allocation of $2bn (£981m) for training judges and building new courts.
The reforms, by royal decree, will lead to the creation of a supreme court, an appeals court and new general courts to replace the Supreme Judicial Council.

Reformers have welcomed the measures, which they say will improve human rights and help modernise the country.

They complain that the current judicial system is often opaque and arbitrary.

Until now, Saudi judges have had wide discretion to issue rulings according to their own interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

The judiciary has also long resisted the codification of laws or the reliance on precedent when making a ruling.

Defendants also do not have recourse to appeal and often have no right to proper legal representation.

Unchecked powers

The new reforms announced by King Abdullah are aimed at addressing some of these perceived failings and at introducing safeguards such as appeal courts that can overturn decisions by lower courts, the BBC’s Heba Saleh says.

You can read the rest HERE.

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October 6, 2007 - Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues

2 Comments »

  1. Oh, this is a fantastic step! There was a wonderful article about it earlier this week in the IHT or the Daily Star, can’t remember which. And yesterday the Daily Star published a very, very good editorial (a once-in-a-blue-moon thing for the paper so all the more impressive:P) applauding the move and explaining why it is so important:

    “Saudi Arabia’s announcement this week that it would initiate significant and comprehensive judicial reforms could prove to be one of the most important developments in the region for many years. Judicial reform – like measurements and standards, or auditing provisions – is one of those unexciting phenomena that actually provide the critical base for any civilization’s advance. It creates a climate of fairness and a means of a redress of grievance that unlock many of the heretofore bottled-up forces in many parts of the Arab world, including entrepreneurship, investment, and creativity.”

    This is an unsexy, but very significant move for KSA:).

    Comment by adiamondinsunlight | October 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. WOW. I love the way they put that! Unexciting, yes. Critical base for any civilization’s advance. YES!! Climate of fairness . . . almost too much to hope for! GREAT find, Little Diamond.

    Comment by intlxpatr | October 7, 2007 | Reply


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