Saudi Arabia overhauls judiciary

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Dubai, Oct 3 (UNI) Saudi Arabia has ushered in major judicial reforms with setting up of a Supreme Court and dedicated labour and commercial tribunals.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah approved new regulations allowing establishment of a supreme court and specialised labour and commercial tribunals. He also allocated 7 billion Saudi riyals to upgrade judicial facilities.

King Abdullah also endorsed the new Judiciary Law and the Court of Grievances Law as well as their executive bylaws on Monday. The new laws will ensure free and fair trial by enhancing the authority of Judges.

The new laws would allow formation of special commercial, labour and administrative courts. The Court of Grievances will work as an independent body and report directly to the King.

The Supreme Judiciary Council will look into personnel affairs of judges. The judicial affairs will now be governed by the Supreme Court, which will supervise implementation of Shariah and the laws issued by the King, the Saudi Press Agency said.

The new laws replace regulations in force for more than 30 years in the case of the judiciary and about 25 years for the Board of Grievances.

The Supreme Court will review rulings issued or upheld by appeal courts pertaining to murder, which is punishable by execution, and other serious offenses.

Under the new regulations, disputes related to divorce and other family and personal matters would be settled by their own courts.

Commercial courts will look into disputes hitherto handled by special committees at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, while labour courts will take over from labour offices affiliated to the Ministry of Labour.

The Court of Grievances will continue to handle administrative disputes involving government departments, but criminal offenses involving these departments, like bribery, will go to other courts.

Under the new laws a higher administrative court will be established to look into cases objecting to the rules issued by administrative appeal courts. There will be administrative courts to look into cases related to rights of employees, administrative decisions, compensations, contracts, disciplinary actions and requests for implementing foreign rules.

The Administrative Judicial Council will have the right to set up other specialised courts with the King's approval.

UNI

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