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Changes to Saudi Arabia’s Dispute Resolution Regulations

Dispute resolution is a growing industry in Saudi Arabia, and over the past 18 months, there have been some changes to its regulations. These changes aim to maintain high levels of efficiency and bring the system in line with international best practices.

Another significant change concerns the power of KSA’s enforcement courts. In this article, we will outline what these courts are, and what they can do to help ensure the efficient resolution of disputes.

Updates to the Dispute Resolution Framework

Dispute resolution was not a particularly well-developed area of law in Saudi Arabia until recently. In 2012, the government passed the Saudi Arbitration Law, which introduced a new framework for resolving disputes in the Kingdom. The introduction of this law was in response to growing levels of international arbitration, and it is part of a wider plan by the government to improve its legal infrastructure. Since then, a number of changes have been made to this framework to keep pace with international best practices, including the ones outlined below.

Electronic submissions

The introduction of an online dispute resolution system allows businesses to submit and manage disputes electronically. Since the COVID-19 global pandemic, this has become increasingly popular as it allows disputes to be dealt with remotely at a much faster pace than traditional face-to-face proceedings.

New Fee Structure

A new fee structure is one of the most recent changes to Saudi Arabia’s dispute resolution framework. Under this structure, parties who lose in court will be required to pay a fee of 2-5% of the claim value. This is intended to discourage frivolous claims and ensure that disputes are not being pursued to simply pressure the other party.

Saudi Arabia’s Enforcement Court

Saudi Arabia’s enforcement court has considerable power and is responsible for dealing with a wide range of disputes. These include:

  • Enforcement of court judgments from other countries that apply to people or entities resident in Saudi Arabia.

  • Enforcement of arbitration awards issued in accordance with the new arbitration law.

  • Enforcing family law judgments concerning the division of assets and child custody.

  • Ensuring that financial obligations (such as debts or alimony) are met following a divorce.

  • Enforcing intellectual property rights, such as trademarks, patents, and designs.

The role of the enforcement court is to ensure that these disputes are resolved in a fair and timely manner, which benefits businesses and individuals alike. With its extensive power, it is an important facet of the Saudi legal system.

In the case of arbitration and dispute resolution, the enforcement court has the power to enforce arbitration awards issued under the new arbitration law. This means that, should one party fail to comply with the award, the other party can seek enforcement of it in court. This gives businesses a level of security and ensures that any awards are respected.

Overall, the changes to Saudi Arabia’s dispute resolution framework have introduced higher levels of efficiency and international best practice to the legal system. This has benefited businesses and individuals alike, making Saudi Arabia a more attractive region for investment and entrepreneurship.

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