How to execute a judgement in Saudi Arabia ?
To satisfy a favorable judgement given by a Saudi Arabian Court, it is necessary for a winning party to apply for an execution order. For example, before an employee can collect payment arising from a judgement order by a Saudi Labour Court, he must first apply for its execution in the proper Saudi Royal Court. Like other court complaints, it may be filed online.
Under the Saudi Court Rules, certain conditions and procedures must be complied with for proper execution.
Documentary requirements for execute judgement in Saudi Arabia
Article 9 of the Execution Law provides that an application with the Saudi Royal Court must relate to an enforcement document which must be any of the following:
- Judgements, decisions and orders issued by courts, including default judgements and value judgements;
- Arbitral awards which include the enforcement order in accordance with the Law of Arbitration;
- Settlement documents issued by competent bodies or endorsed by courts;
- Negotiable Instruments;
- Attested contracts and documents;
- Judgements, judicial orders, arbitral awards and attested documents issued in a foreign country;
- Ordinary documents which content is acknowledged in whole or in part; and
- Other contracts and documents having the power of the enforcement document under the law.
Note that since some documents such as cheques or negotiable instruments are enforcement documents, a claim or complaint relating thereto may be directly filed before the Execution Court instead of going through the regular Commercial or Labour Courts. However, the executory document must relate to a due and demandable specific amount. It must not be contrary to Sharia Law and compliant with the requirements of Article 9 of the Execution Regulations. Whenever applicable, other important documents such as Special Power of Attorney must be presented in the Saudi Royal Execution Court with the application.
Where to file?
Needless to say, the Execution Judge must be competent to hear the application. The venue shall be in any of the following:
- In the court circuit issuing the enforcement document;
- In the location where the document is issued;
- In the debtor’s domicile; and
- In the location of the debtor’s real estate or movable assets.
Other requirements for execute judgement in Saudi Arabia
For obvious reasons, the execution of a judgement, say by a County Court, cannot be subject of execution proceedings if the case has been appealed to an pending at a higher court such as Courts of Judicial Magistrate of Second Class.
With regard to foreign judgements and arbitration awards, the High Court may only issue an execution order if the court of origin was competent to hear the case, all parties have been properly notified and the judgement or award is final and unappealable. Moreover, the judgement or award should not be contrary with any judgement or order of a Saudi Court, especially the Saudi Supreme Court, or the Sharia Law for that matter. Finally, the country of origin shall reciprocally allow enforcement of judgements made by the Saudi Royal Courts.
How long will execute judgement in Saudi Arabia take?
The execution process is fast, especially if no further hearings are required. Normally, the Execution Court issues the order within a month upon application. If precautionary reliefs are required, such as attachment or freezing of bank accounts, it may take a month or two longer.
What happens when an application has been granted?
After an execution order has been issued, the execution officer of the Execution Court shall serve the execution debtor with a notice thereof. The notice may be delivered personally or electronically via text messaging if the debtor’s contact information is in the Absher mobile application system. The execution debtor then has the option to either accept the execution or make a dispute which the Court must accordingly hear. A dispute however does not ordinarily stop the execution.
Subsequently, the Execution Judge shall order disclosure by the debtor. In proper cases, disclosure may also be required from third parties in possession of properties of the debtor. The intervention of the police may be resorted to by the Court should there be a delay for 5 days or so in meeting the obligation to satisfy the judgment.
Save for properties excluded by law like the family home, all other properties of the judgement debtor may be subjected to execution. They include both real and personal properties, even non-tangible ones such as intellectual properties.
The applicant may include in his complaint an application for precautionary attachment. This is to secure payment or performance in cases where the debtor is likely to dispose of his assets or abscond to avoid his obligations. When applicable, the assets so distrained will be sold at a public auction the proceeds of which shall be given to the applicant.
If the debtor has been found to be insolvent, he may be given a grace period. The Court may also order the proper authorities to seize his future assets. If the claim for insolvency has been proven fraudulent, the debtor may be criminally liable with a penalty of up to five years.