Saudi Arabia’s Decision on Acceptance of Foreign Lawyers

The Cabinet of Saudi Arabia recently approved the Decision that authorizes foreign lawyers to plead in courts by amending the Saudi Code of Law Practice that required lawyers to be Saudi nationals to be able to plead before the courts. The purpose of this decision is to diversify the legal profession in the country and encourage foreign investments in Saudi Arabia by facilitating the process of litigation for multiple companies situated in the country.

Prior to this Decision, law firms were only permitted to outsource foreign lawyers as legal advisors. The Decision allows foreign lawyers to represent third parties in the courts of law, the Board of Grievances, and other committees set up by the laws, decrees, and decisions to consider the cases falling within their respective jurisdictions. Furthermore, consultancy services based on Sharia principles and the rule of law may also be provided by foreign lawyers.

A foreign lawyer must pass the following requirements to be able to plead in courts.

  1. Obtain a license to practice in the country and be a member of the Saudi Bar Association.
  2. Qualifications from a Sharia college, or obtain a Law degree from a university in Saudi, or a foreign equivalent of one of these degrees, or a post-graduate diploma from the Institute of Public Administration in legal studies.
  3. A minimum of three years of practical legal experience. If an individual holds a Master’s degree in Sharia or law, or an equivalent, or a Sharia college graduates’ post-graduate diploma in law, the period may be reduced to one year. If an individual holds a doctorate in any of the abovementioned specializations, this requirement will not apply.
  4. Good conduct and not under interdiction.
  5. Not be subject to any Hadd or punishment prescribed by the Quran, or have any connection to crimes that challenge the lawyer’s integrity for a minimum of five years prior to being appointed.
  6. Be a resident of the country.

The Decisions mainly allow lawyers from the Gulf States to be able to plead in courts with the aim of bringing equality in the practice of work to GCC citizens. Get in touch with the well-qualified lawyers in UAE to know more.