Commercial Courts system in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian judicial system consists of three main parts. The Sharia system, the Board of Grievances and various committees within government ministries that address specific cases including commercial disputes. In the advent of the Commercial Courts Law (CCL) which was officially published on 17 April 2020, the country has further streamlined the legal system in Saudi Arabia.
Is the commercial court the proper venue to raise my claim?
Under the new Saudi Law, commercial courts are competent to hear a claim if it involves any of the following disputes:
- Between traders due to their original or ancillary business;
- Against a trader under a commercial contract where the value of the claim exceeds one hundred thousand riyals;
- Between partners of a Mudarabah arrangement1;
- Claims and violations arising under the Companies Law;
- Claims and violations arising under the Bankruptcy Law;
- Claims and violations under intellectual property laws;
- Claims and violations arising under other commercial laws;
- Lawsuits and requests related to the appointment of a judicial receiver, trustee, liquidator or expert; and
- Claims for damages arising from a lawsuit previously heard by the Commercial Courts.
The new Saudi Arabian rules aim to promote the speedy disposition of cases in commercial courts. Thus, parties are required in some cases to undergo alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before a full-blown trial is commenced. Also in some cases, only a licensed lawyer is allowed to file to avoid the accumulation of improperly filed claims. Further, some require that the claimant must send a notice to the defendant first requesting him to pay or perform the claimed entitlement at least 15 days prior to filing the case.
Applications for preliminary reliefs such as attachment, appointment of judicial custodians, or preservation of property are decided within three (3) business days upon filing. If urgent, the Saudi Arabian commercial court has the discretion to decide the matter even without notice to the defendant. Under Saudi law, the claimant has seven (7) days to file the main claim once the urgent relief is granted. If it fails to do so the urgent relief granted will be revoked.
Any party is allowed to challenge the jurisdiction of the commercial court under the Saudi Arabian legal system. The commercial court has 20 days to decide upon the date the challenge has been made.
Serving Notices in Commercial Courts
Under the new Saudi legal system, a valid service may be made either traditionally or through electronic means. Lawyers may be also authorized by the parties to accept services of court notices.
Trademark infringement cases under the Trademark Law of 2016 are common in Saudi Arabia. In such cases, a wronged party can seek damages or compensation for infringement of its rights and harm suffered. Furthermore, other penalties may be imposed under Saudi Arabia Laws for trademark infringement depending upon the nature of the offense. For example, penalties may be doubled for repeat offenders. Additional penalties may include potential closure of the place of business for between 15 days to six months and publication of the decision at the expense of the offender.
How to check a court case in Saudi Arabia
To check a court case within the legal system in Saudi Arabia, you can simply access the Ministry of Justice portal, and select e-services. After which, select an inquiry about the date of the case, then log in to the service. If you have the case number and year, simply enter it and select the court before finally clicking the search button.