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GAR’s Construction Arbitration Know-how - Saudi Arabia

By Joseph Chedrawe, Emily Beirne, and Amr Omran

Legal system

Is your jurisdiction primarily a common law, civil law, customary law or theocratic law jurisdiction? Are the laws substantially derived from the laws of another jurisdiction and, if so, which? What instruments have legal force and effect? Who are the lawmaking bodies? How and where are new laws published? Can laws be passed with retrospective effect?

Saudi Arabia’s Legal system is underpinned by principles of the Islamic Sharia. In particular, Saudi Arabia subscribes to the Hanabali school of Islamic interpretation (one of four traditional schools of jurisprudence within Sunni Islam).

The power to enact legislation is vested in the King of Saudi Arabia, the Council of Ministers and the Majlis Al-Shura (the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia). Individual Ministers may draft and propose legislation relevant to their own ministries, which are then voted on by the Council of Ministers and finally approved by the King. The Majlis Al-Shura primarily acts as policy advisor to the King, but is also empowered to propose new legislation directly to the King and to interpret existing laws. Sharia principles will fill the gap where the law is silent.

Laws and regulations are issued by Royal Decree (with the exception of banking regulations, which are enacted by Royal Decree and Ministerial Resolution). Royal Decrees are published in the Official Gazette.

Laws rarely have retrospective effect. When they do, it will be indicated in the text of the legislation itself and will usually incorporate a grace period to permit those impacted to comply. Read the full article here.

An extract from GAR’s Construction Arbitration Know-how, first published in July 2018. The whole publication is available here.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.