Explanation of the New Saudi Sharia Law of Procedure

The Sharia Litigation System in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has undergone multiple development stages since the first system was issued in 1346 AH, through substantial updates that led to the current system adopted in 1421 AH. This system reflects the Kingdom’s commitment to keeping up with judicial developments and enhancing the efficiency of litigation procedures.

The legislative development history of the Sharia Litigation System from the first system issued in 1346 AH to the current system adopted in 1421 AH with substantial updates to the judicial procedures. The legislative history of the Sharia Litigation System reflects the evolution of judicial thought in the Kingdom, starting with a simple system in 1346 AH and evolving through a series of amendments that included substantial updates in judicial procedures, culminating in the system adopted in 1421 AH. These updates included detailed specifics related to issuing verdicts, notifications, and interventions in cases.

General Provisions

The general provisions form the foundation on which the other legal details of the Sharia Litigation System are based. These provisions include definitions and the basics of procedures followed in Sharia courts, covering jurisdiction and the eligibility of disputants, playing a crucial role in guiding the progress of cases and ensuring the application of justice efficiently and effectively.

Basic Definitions

  • Jurisdiction: The judicial authority responsible for reviewing the case.
  • Eligibility of Disputants: The legal capacity of individuals to be a party in a legal dispute.

Jurisdiction Jurisdiction in the Saudi Sharia Litigation System defines the courts competent to hear cases and appeals, according to clear and defined arrangements that ensure justice and speed of procedures. The system applies specific divisions that ensure each type of case is seen by the most suitable court in terms of jurisdiction, which includes:

  • General Courts: Handle most civil and criminal cases.
  • Commercial Courts: Specialized in commercial cases.
  • Administrative Courts: Specialize in specific cases such as disputes involving the state.
  • Personal Status Courts: Specialize in cases like marriage, divorce, and inheritance.

Determining Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is determined based on factors such as the type of case, the monetary value of the claim, and the residence of the involved parties. This arrangement ensures that each case is adjudicated by a court with the appropriate expertise to deliver the most accurate and just verdicts, reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to achieving effective and comprehensive justice.

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Lawsuit Procedures

The procedures for filing a lawsuit in the New Saudi Sharia Litigation System follow specific steps aimed at facilitating the judicial process and ensuring justice is achieved transparently and efficiently.

How to File a Lawsuit

  • Submitting the Complaint: The claimant must submit the complaint to the competent court.
  • Documenting the Complaint: The complaint must include all necessary information about the lawsuit and the involved parties.

Basic Requirements for the Complaint

  • Claimant’s Personal Information: Name, address, identity number.
  • Details of the Lawsuit: Claimed rights, available evidence.
  • Competent Court: The complaint must specify the court that will review the case.

How to Notify Involved Parties

  • Direct Notification: The complaint is delivered personally to the defendant or their legal representative.
  • Notification through Official Means: If direct notification is not possible, notification can be made through local authorities or via approved media if allowed by law.


  • Submitting the Complaint: The claimant submits the complaint to the court.
  • Basic Contents of the Complaint: Personal data, details of the lawsuit, competent court.
  • Notification: The complaint is delivered directly to the defendant or through official means.

These procedures are designed to ensure that all parties are legally and transparently notified of the case, allowing the judicial process to proceed efficiently and effectively

Session Procedures

In the New Saudi Sharia Litigation System, session procedures are a fundamental element in ensuring justice according to Islamic Sharia principles. These procedures include managing the sessions, acceptable evidence, and approved methods of proof.

Managing Judicial Sessions

  • Open Sessions: Sessions are usually held publicly unless the judge decides otherwise for reasons related to public order or privacy protection.
  • Recording Procedures: All session proceedings must be documented in official records to ensure transparency and accuracy.

Acceptable Evidence

  • Documentary Evidence: Official documents, contracts, letters, or any other relevant documents.
  • Witness Evidence: Testimonies of witnesses who are summoned to provide information about the case.
  • Physical Evidence: Any material evidence such as physical objects or photographs.

Methods of Proof According to Islamic Sharia

  • Witness Testimony (Bayyina): Relies on the testimony of two just witnesses in cases involving money and contracts.
  • Oath: One of the parties is required to take a legal oath to affirm or deny their claim.
  • Circumstantial Evidence and Inferences: Use of logical clues and legal deductions to support the judgment.
Type Description
Documentary Evidence Documents and contracts
Witness Evidence Testimony of two just witnesses
Physical Evidence Material objects or photos
Witness Testimony Testimony of witnesses
Oath Legal oath
Circumstantial Evidence Use of logical clues

These procedures are fundamental to ensuring fair handling of cases according to Islamic Sharia provisions, providing a deeper understanding of the cases presented, and achieving justice transparently and effectively.

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Judgments and Their Enforcement

In the New Saudi Sharia Litigation System, the procedures for issuing and enforcing judgments are essential elements to ensure the effectiveness of the judicial system. These procedures include multiple stages from issuing to enforcing the judgment, ensuring the right to appeal and reconsider judgments.

Issuing the Judgment

  • Final Decision: After all sessions are completed and all parties and witnesses have been heard, the judge issues his final decision based on the evidence and Islamic Sharia.

Enforcing the Judgment

  • Execution Procedures: Judicial judgments must be executed in accordance with the procedures specified in the system, such as executing financial or penal judgments.
  • Judicial Supervision: The judiciary monitors the enforcement of judgments to ensure they are applied correctly and effectively.

Right to Appeal

  • Appeal: Parties concerned have the right to appeal the judgment before the appellate court if they believe the issued judgment did not fully consider the law or procedures.
  • Request for Reconsideration: Parties may request reconsideration of the judgment if new evidence emerges that affects the issued judgment.
Step Description
Issuing the Judgment The judge issues his decision based on the evidence
Enforcing the Judgment Apply the judgment according to legal procedures
Challenging the Judgment Appeal or request for reconsideration

These procedures ensure the right to defense and appeal for all parties, enhancing the integrity and transparency of the judicial system, and affirming the application of justice according to Islamic Sharia and applicable laws.

Procedural Guarantees

Procedural guarantees in the New Saudi Sharia Litigation System reflect the Kingdom’s commitment to protecting individual rights during the judicial process. These guarantees include a set of stringent conditions aimed at ensuring justice and fairness for all concerned parties.

Basic Conditions for Procedural Guarantees

  • Stability of Jurisdiction: The court handling the case may not be changed except under specific and necessary conditions to ensure justice, such as changes in geographic jurisdiction or jurisdiction conflicts.
  • Right to Defense: Every individual is granted the right to present their defense fully and adequately during the judicial process, including the right to consult a lawyer and have sufficient time to prepare their defense.
  • Transparency and Publicity: Judicial sessions are held publicly except in cases where privacy or public order needs to be preserved.
  • Right to Appeal and Reconsideration: The right to challenge judgments and request reconsideration is allowed according to the law and specified procedures to ensure every party’s right to a fair judicial review.

Enhancing Procedural Guarantees

To enhance these guarantees, procedures must be applied precisely and in accordance with international human rights standards, including immediate and unrestricted access to justice and fair treatment at all stages of the judicial process.

Guarantee Description
Stability of Jurisdiction Ensure the court is not arbitrarily changed
Right to Defense The right to a comprehensive defense and legal consultation
Transparency and Publicity Holding sessions publicly unless legally justified
Right to Appeal The right to appeal or reconsider judgments

These guarantees play a crucial role in protecting individual rights and enhancing public confidence in the judicial system, contributing to the achievement of more effective and equitable justice.

Read also about the Law of Evidence in Saudi Arabia and its significant legal impacts in our detailed analysis available on Eyad Reda Law Firm‘s website.