RIYADH — The Kingdom has witnessed a boom in the law sector over the past decade according to the Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and President of the Saudi Arbitration Team, Prince Bandar Bin Salman Bin Muhammad Al-Saud.
He added: “The Kingdom in the past 10 years has passed more laws than many other nations.
“This includes the arbitration law, the subject of our forum.” The prince made the remarks on Monday while opening a forum on the new Saudi arbitration law passed six months ago and its effect on investment in the Kingdom.
Prince Bandar, speaking at the event organized by the Council of Saudi Chambers, added: “The good thing in the new arbitration law that it focuses on the commercial field.”
He said the Kingdom is very keen, and will continue, to implement laws based on Islamic teachings that he believed still remained relevant.
A number of papers were presented in the forum including one by Dr.Khalid Al-Nowaiser, law expert and head of Arbitration Committee at the Council.
Al-Nowaiser said in his paper: “This new arbitration law is a real shift in the judicial scene in the Kingdom as it avoids many of the shortcomings of the old law, besides its coverage for the first time of both national and international aspects of arbitration.
“This will bring a new hope and trust in the Saudi judicial system among local and foreign investors.”
Al-Nowaiser called for establishing an independent economic court focusing on investment and business cases.
He said the new arbitration court should be established according to the new law and be given the power to regulate arbitration processes and approve and endorse relevant measures.
Another paper presented by Dr. Ahmad Al-Sagiah shed light on the importance of arbitration in solving business disputes and called for enlightening the public on the new law and its merits.
It also recommended creating a culture that favors arbitration as a means for solving business disagreements.
Over 350 law and Islamic Shariah experts as well as other guests attended, including Abdulatif Al-Othman, Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).
Prince Saud Bin Khalid Al-Faisal, Deputy Governor for Investment Affairs at SAGIA and President of the National Competitiveness Center, said: “We at SAGIA work to provide both foreign and local investors with a healthy business climate in partnership with our government counterparts.
“The passing of the new arbitration law further cements the Kingdom’s continued progress in introducing policies and reforms that will reflect positively on both local and foreign investors alike.” Al-Nowaiser added: “We cannot truly judge the efficacy of any law until it has been tested over a period of time and several relevant cases are resolved.
“However, we hope that both the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Judicial Council considers the necessity of expediting and simplifying the procedures related to arbitrators’ judgments issued outside Saudi Arabia.
“Also, it is necessary to develop a clear mechanism for this very important and sensitive issue.
“There is no question that this matter is highly important and it affects not only the investors but also the Kingdom’s international reputation and credibility in honoring its international agreements.”