Saudi Arabia: Foreign Lawyers to be Allowed to Plead in Courts

Saudi Arabia: Foreign Lawyers to be Allowed to Plead in Courts News developments

Saudi Arabia: Foreign Lawyers to be Allowed to Plead in Courts

Gulf News (United Arab Emirates), 7 July 2021: According to local newspaper reports, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved a Decision to allow foreign lawyers to plead in courts.

They will have to be licensed in the Kingdom and be basic members of the Saudi Bar Association.

They must have a degree from a Sharia college or a Bachelor of Law from one of the Kingdom’s universities or an equivalent of any of these degrees obtained from abroad, or a post-graduate diploma of legal studies from the Institute of Public Administration. They must also have at least three years of practical legal experience. This period may be reduced to one year for an individual who holds a Master’s degree in Sharia or in law, or an equivalent, or a post-graduate diploma in law for Sharia college graduates. This requirement will not apply to a holder of a doctorate in these specialist fields. They must be of good conduct and not under interdiction and must not have been subjected to any hadd or Qur’anic prescribed punishment or any other sentence in connection with a crime which impugns integrity, except where a minimum of five years has passed since the sentence was issued. Finally, they must be residents of the Kingdom.

They will be able to represent third parties before courts of law, the Board of Grievances and other committees set up by laws, decrees and decisions to consider the cases falling within their respective jurisdictions.

They can also provide consultancy services based on Sharia principles and the rule of law.

The Cabinet Decision has amended a requirement in the Saudi Code of Law Practice for lawyers to be a Saudi to practice law in order to be able to plead before courts.

Previously, law firms could only outsource foreign lawyers as legal advisors.

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Marlé Van Sandwyk