Criminal Justice in Saudi Arabia

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Criminal Justice in Saudi Arabia Introduction: The current Saudi court framework is made out of a Supreme Judicial Council, First Instance Courts and Courts of Appeals. Saudi Arabia additionally has a regulatory legal body called Board of Grievances which remains close by the Courts System and is subsidiary specifically with the King. The board judicial capacity is brought out through Board of Appeal Circuits, First-Instance Circuits and Circuits of Appeals.

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Each of these legal bodies has jurisdiction over cases acquired before it understanding with the law. Moreover, the Saudi legal framework has a few managerial committees that arbitrate civil, criminal and administrative cases. The judicial jurisdiction of every panel is constantly controlled by the declaration which constituted it.

Current Saudi Arabian Courts System:

At present, Saudi Arabia has a double judicial framework included the Shari’ah Courts System and a free managerial judiciary known as the Board of Grievances. Notwithstanding the past legal bodies, there are a few Administrative Committees have jurisdiction to hear certain predetermined cases. Additionally, the Law of the Judiciary allows the foundation of particular courts by, Regal Order on the suggestion of the Supreme Judicial Council. As per the Law of Judiciary and Basic Law of Governance, Courts of Shari’ah have the jurisdiction over all question and crimes aside from those exempted from jurisdiction by law. The Shari’ah Courts hear cases identified with individual status, civil disputes, family affairs and most criminal cases. Be that as it may, diverse laws and regulations have conceded jurisdiction over distinctive crimes and cases to either Board of Grievances or to Administrative Committees. Supreme Judicial Council: The Council reviews judgments including death penalties and certain other, real crimes. In its administrative capacity, the Council’s part is crucial in making judicial precedents and general principles that lower courts are certain to take after; the Council additionally investigates Shari’ah questions that oblige an announcement of general Shari’ah standards, eluded by the Minister of Justice. Its consultative capacity, the Council reviews and gives sentiments in matters alluded to it by King or by Minister of Justice. Meetings of Council’s Permanent Panel are administered by regulations that request participation and voting. Courts of Appeals: The Saudi Arabia Courts of Appeals are second level in the current Saudi Arabian legal framework. A Court of Appeal is made out of a chief judge and an adequate number of senior judges from legal group. The Court comprises of a few boards with jurisdiction over criminal cases, instances of individual status and different cases that don’t fall into the initial two classifications. The Court of Appeal can create the same number of panels as it needs, and Chief Judge or the one of his delegates must head each of these panels. Presently, there are the two Courts of Appeals in a Saudi Arabia. One is in the Makkah, which appeals hearing from lower courts in Western Provinces, while other is situated in Riyadh, which hears claims from lower courts in the Eastern and Central Provinces. Be that as it may, for general society intrigue and in light of a choice of the Court’s General Council, a portion of the panels may hold all or some piece of their hearings in another city or secure branches in different cities. Summary Courts: Summary Courts are made out of one or more judges. The creation, jurisdiction, and designation of Summary Courts are constituted by choices of the Minister of Justice on the proposal of the Supreme Judicial Council. A judge passes on judgments issued by courts. Summary Courts have the jurisdiction over the certain hudud cases and decisions concerning financial harms or pay for crimes that don’t surpass 33% of the diy’ah. They likewise have jurisdiction over common cases for totals under 8,000 Saudi Riyals. There are above than the fourteen Summary Courts in Saudi Arabia.

General Courts:

The Law of the Judiciary gives Minister of Justice the ability to characterize the jurisdiction of Summary and General Courts in view of the proposals of the Supreme Judicial Council. A comparative procurement gives the Minister of the Interior the power, upon the proposal of Director of Bureau of Prosecution and Investigation, to determine which acts constitute significant crimes obliging detention. In 1976, the Minister of Justice issued a request making the locale of the Summary Courts, as specified beforehand. Likewise, in 2002, the Minister of the Interior issued a request characterizing what may be dealt with as a major crime. Finally, it merits specifying that case before Shari’ah Courts is administered by Law of Procedure before Courts of Shari’ah embraced in 2000, and the Law of Criminal Procedure received in 2001. Board of Appeal Circuits: This is most elevated power in the Board of Grievances circuit’s framework. The Board is made out of all individuals from the Appeals Circuits and three individuals from the First-Instance Circuits who are chosen by the Board’s leader. Appeal Circuits: At the top of Board circuits framework there are various authoritative, criminal and commercial Scrutinizing Circuits that capacity as courts of appeal and have final power in grievances. Presently, there are three Appeal Circuits that were made to do the capacity of the Board of Grievances, along these lines working as managerial circuits. First-Instance Circuits: In lower level of progressive system framework, there are various First Instance Administrative, Disciplinary, Criminal, Subsidiary and Commercial Circuits that reflect differing jurisdiction of the Board. The Board’s First Instance Circuits are changed routinely. More than 80 circuits have been made, 33% of which were given to adjudicating disputes and criminal cases. Administrative Committees: There are a few Authoritative Committees with legal powers which have been intermittently made subsequent to the unification of Saudi Arabia in 1932. These Managerial Committees have jurisdiction over criminal, commercial, administrative and civil cases and question emerging out of the usage of a few laws and provisions. The Basic Law of Governance does not perceive these committees as a component of the judicial power. In spite of the fact that these committees have been created to help facilitate the overwhelming cases workload before Saudi Courts System, and to adapt to the necessity of the social and monetary advancement of the Kingdom, they have been liable to criticism on the grounds that they present measures of settling by the Official Branch.

High Court:

The High Court will perform a few consultative, legislative and judicial roles. Notwithstanding the function put forward by Law of Procedure, before Courts of Shari’ah and Law of Criminal Procedure, court will direct the usage of Islamic law and regulations sanctioned by the King which are reliable with the issues that fall inside the general jurisdiction of judiciary. The High Court will review decisions issued or maintained by Courts of Appeals, that including those which identify with cases deserving of death, and other certain significant crimes.


The Saudi Legislature has made a real stride forward in modernizing the Saudi Judicial System. Without precedent for the historical backdrop of Kingdom, a High Court will be created in the Saudi Arabia’s capital (Riyadh), as most elevated legal power in the area, and will tackle the obligations that have been already given to Judicial Supreme Council. It will practice its power through criminal and other specific circuits. The Supreme Judicial Council will supervise the authoritative parts of the legal, including the decision of judges, the oversight of judges’ faculty undertakings, the foundation of particular courts, and so forth. Also, the new law rolled out significant improvements with respect to the portion of the legal power of the Board of Grievances. The board turned into a simply free authoritative judiciary, while its power to adjudicate criminal cases and commercial disputes has been allowed to Specialized Courts in Criminal Cases.


Otto, Jan Michiel (2010).Sharia Incorporated: A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present. pp.144–145.

Peters, Rudolph (2006).Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law: Theory and Practice from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century. p.148

Coulson, Noel J. (Graham and Trotman, 1984),Commercial Law in the Gulf States: The Islamic Legal Tradition, 3

Kaim, Markus (2008).Great powers and regional orders: the United States and the Persian Gulf. p.162.

Esposito, John L. (1998).Islam and politics. p.111

Wynbrandt, James; Gerges, Fawaz A. (2010).A Brief History of Saudi Arabia. p.183

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