Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

overmentioned reforms was a challenging process and required significant investment from the Saudi authorities. The government made the decision to implement the new judicial system over the course of years to provide a smooth transition between the old and new systems. Therefore, one of the main aims of the government in this development is to ensure the efficiency of the judicial system and proceedings and that quality rulings are issued by the Saudi courts. Currently, the bureau of experts at the Council of Ministers is working on drafting a national penal code, which is an essential part of the judicial reforms alongside publishing general principles and court judgments. Issued in 2016, these are a series of publications to provide judges and lawyers with valuable knowledge about how the courts have historically applied Sharia and legislation to actual cases. These judgments are guidelines in nature rather than precedents, but many judges follow them as they are relevant and applicable. In addition to these, in 2018 the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Judicial Council published a sourcebook of legal principles and precedents after reviewing over 20,000 rulings issued during the last 47 years. The aim was to provide judges and legal representatives with insight into how Sharia law had historically been applied to actual cases. Moreover, the Saudi courts have begun to actively shift from a paper-based to an electronic system as part of a huge IT project. This has involved the introduction of new hardware and software with a focus on the Administrative, Commercial and Enforcement Courts. New matters commence through an online e-filing system without a need to visit the relevant court and case progress is tracked by legal representatives through online platforms. Hearings are now routinely THOUGHT LEADER 93 Currently, the judicial system of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is going through a legislative revolution.

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