THE LAW OF PROCEDURE BEFORE SHARI'AH COURTS [2000]: continued (parts 7 through 11)

Royal Decree No.M/21, 20 Jumada I, 1421 [19 August 2000]
Umm al-Qura No.3811, 17 Jumada II 1421 [15 September 2000]

The English version of this document is for guidance only.
The Arabic version is the governing text.  




Chapter I: Suspension of Litigation


Article 82 : The case may be suspended on the basis of an agreement by the litigants not to proceed with it for a maximum of six months from the date the court approves the agreement. Such suspension shall have no effect on any mandatory time limit prescribed hereunder for an action. If the litigants do not resume the case proceedings within the ten days that follow the end of the specified period, the plaintiff shall be deemed to have abandoned his case.

Article 83 : If a court determines that its judgment on the merits of a case should be contingent on ruling on another issue on which the judgment depends, it shall order suspension of the case and the litigants may request proceeding with the case when the cause of suspension lapses.


Chapter II: Discontinuance of Litigation


Article 84 : Unless the case is ripe for judgment on the merits, litigation shall discontinue with the death of a litigant or his loss of capacity to litigate, or with the loss of representational capacity by the person litigating on his behalf. Litigation shall not discontinue with the expiry of a power of attorney, however. The court may grant sufficient time to a client if he appoints a new attorney-in-fact within fifteen days of the expiry of the first power of attorney. If the case is ripe for judgment, however, the litigation may not be discontinued and the court shall render judgment.

Article 85 : A case shall be considered ripe for judgment on its merits if the litigants make their statements and closing arguments during the litigation hearing before the cause to discontinue existed.

Article 86 : Discontinuance of litigation shall entail the suspension of all set times of the litigation then proceeding in respect of the litigants and the invalidation of all actions occurring during the discontinuance.

Article 87 : Proceedings of the case shall resume at the request of a litigant [with summons] duly notified to the successor of the person by reason of whom the discontinuance happened, or to the other adversary. Proceeding with the case shall also resume if the hearing scheduled for considering the case is attended by the successor of the person by reason of whom the discontinuance happened.


Chapter III: Abandonment of Litigation


Article 88 : The plaintiff may abandon litigation by means of a notice addressed by him to his adversary, by a declaration from him to the competent court clerk, by an explicit statement in a memorandum signed by him or his attorney-in-fact and shown to his adversary, or by making the request orally on the record in a hearing. Abandonment after the defendant completes his defenses is permitted only with the court's approval.

Article 89 : Abandonment shall entail nullification of all litigation actions, including the claim memorandum. Such abandonment, however, shall not prejudice the right claimed.






Article 90 : A judge shall be prohibited from considering and hearing a case, even if no litigant makes such a request, in the following circumstances.

  • If he is the spouse, relative, or in-law up to the fourth degree of a litigant.
  • If he, or his wife, has an existing dispute with a litigant in the case or with his wife.
  • If he is an attorney-in-fact, guardian, trustee, or presumptive heir of a litigant or if he is the spouse of the guardian or trustee of a litigant or if he is a relative or an in-law up to the fourth degree of such guardian or trustee.
  • If he, his wife, a relative, or an in-law in the ancestral line, or a person for whom he is trustee or guardian, has an interest in the existing case.
  • If he had issued a fatwa (religious legal opinion), litigated for one of the litigants in the case, or written about it, even if it were before he joined the judiciary, or if he had earlier considered the case as a judge, expert, or arbitrator, or had been a witness in the case or had engaged in any investigative action therein.

Article 91 : An action or decision by a judge in any of the foregoing circumstances set forth in Article 90 shall be null and void even if it were with the agreement of the litigants. If such nullification occurs with respect to a judgment upheld by the Appellate Court, a litigant may request said court to nullify the decision and assign another judge to reconsider the appeal.

Article 92 : A judge may be disqualified for any of the following reasons:

  • If either he or his wife has a case similar to the case before him.
  • If he, or his wife, has a dispute with a litigant or his wife after the lawsuit was filed and pending with the judge, unless that [latter] lawsuit was filed with the intention of disqualifying him from considering the case before him.
  • If his divorcee with whom he has a child or one of his relatives or in-laws up to the fourth degree has a dispute before the judiciary with a litigant in the case, or with his wife, unless the case was brought with the intention of disqualifying him.
  • If a litigant is his servant or the judge had habitually dined or lived with him, or if he had received a gift from him shortly before the lawsuit was filed or thereafter.
  • If enmity or friendship exists between him and a litigant such that it is likely he would not be able to judge impartially.

Article 93 : A judge may refrain from considering a case before him only if he was forbidden to consider the case or possessed a disqualifying cause. He shall contact his immediate superior for permission to recuse himself, all of which shall be entered into a special record kept at the court.

Article 94 : If there was cause for a judge to recuse himself and he had failed to do so, a litigant may request his disqualification. If the reason for disqualification is not one of those set forth under Article 92, a request for disqualification must be made before any defense or plea is presented in the case; otherwise such a right is forfeited. Nevertheless, such a request may be made if the reasons therefor occurred afterwards or if the petitioner proves that he had no knowledge thereof.

Article 95 : Disqualification shall be effected by a declaration to the court administration signed by the petitioner personally or by his attorney-in-fact under special power of attorney which shall be attached to the declaration. A declaration for disqualification shall include reasons therefor and enclose whatever supporting papers are available. When making the declaration, the petitioner shall deposit one thousand riyals which shall revert to the public treasury if the petition is rejected.

Article 96 : The court administration shall immediately show the declaration for disqualification to the judge who shall within the following four days of reviewing the declaration write to the Chief Judge of the court or the Chief Judge of the province courts, as the case may be, about the facts and causes of disqualification. If he does not write within the prescribed time, or if he writes in support of the reasons for disqualification, which reasons shall be proper hereunder, or if he writes a denial but proof is established, the Chief Judge of the court or the Chief Judge of the province courts shall declare him disqualified from considering the case.






Chapter I: General Provisions


Article 97 : Facts intended for verification during proceedings must be relevant, material to the case and admissible.

Article 98 : If a litigant's evidence is in a place outside the area of court's jurisdiction, said court shall deputize the judge with jurisdiction over that place to hear such evidence.

Article 99 : A court may renounce evidentiary procedures it had ordered provided that it sets forth the reasons for renunciation in the record. It may take no account of the result of the procedure provided that it explains the reasons therefor in its judgment.


Chapter II: Questioning Litigants and Admission

Article 100 : A court may question a litigant who is present, and each litigant may request the questioning of his adversary who is present. Responses shall be given during the same hearing, unless the court deems fit to grant time for a response. The response must be given in front of the person requesting the questioning.

Article 101 : A court either on its own, or at the request of a litigant, may order the presence of his adversary for questioning if it determined a need therefor. A person whom the court decides to question shall attend the hearing as scheduled in the court's order.

Article 102 : If a litigant has an acceptable excuse that prevents his appearance in person for questioning, the judge shall himself go, or deputize a trustworthy person to go, to question the litigant at his place of residence. If the one to be questioned is outside the area of the court's jurisdiction, the judge shall deputize the court of his place of residence to question him.

Article 103 : If a litigant fails to appear for questioning without an acceptable excuse, or refuses to answer for no reason, the court may hear the evidence and draw whatever conclusion it deems proper from such failure to appear or refusal to answer.

Article 104 : An admission by a litigant during questioning or without questioning shall be proof affecting him only. The admission shall be made before the bench during the course of the case related to the admitted event.

Article 105 : For an admission to be valid it must be made by an adult, who is sane, not under interdiction, and must make the admission freely. An admission by an interdicted spendthrift shall be accepted in all matters for which he is not legally under interdiction.

Article 106 : An admission shall not be divisible to the detriment of its maker whereby what is damaging to him is taken into account but what is in his favor is not. It shall be taken in toto, unless it pertains to several events where the existence of one event does not necessarily entail the existence of others.


Chapter III: Oaths


Article 107 : A person requesting the oath of his adversary must precisely specify the events concerning which he wishes said adversary take an oath. The court shall prepare the formula of the oath as prescribed by the Shari'ah.

Article 108 : An oath or refusal to be take an oath may be made only before the presiding judge in the judicial hearing, and shall be of no consequence outside the hearing unless there is a provision to the contrary.

Article 109 : A person summoned to court to take an oath must appear. If he appears and declines without contesting the permissibility or relevance of the oath to the case with the person requesting the oath he must, if present in person, take the oath immediately or require that his adversary take an oath. If he fails to appear for no excuse he shall be considered to have refused to take the oath.

Article 110 : If the person requested to take an oath has an excuse that prevents his appearance, the judge shall proceed to where he is to administer the oath, or the court shall assign one of its judges or assistant judges to do so. If a person to be sworn resides outside the area of the court's jurisdiction, the court may deputize the court of his place of residence to administer the oath. In either case minutes of the oath shall be drawn up and signed by the oath taker, the deputized judge or representative, the clerk, and the adversaries present.

Article 111 : An oath shall be taken in front of the person requesting it, unless he waives attendance or fails to appear without an acceptable excuse despite his knowledge of the hearing.


Chapter IV: Inspection


Article 112 : The court on its own or at the request of a litigant may decide to inspect a disputed item either by bringing it to the court, if feasible, or by proceeding to where it is or assigning the task to one of its members, provided that the decision to that effect states the time of inspection. It may deputize the court with jurisdiction over the disputed item to perform the inspection, in which case the deputized judge shall be notified of the deputizing decision, which decision shall contain all the information pertaining to the litigants, the inspection place, and such other information as is necessary to clarify aspects of the case.

Article 113 : The court, the assigned or deputized judge shall invite the litigants, at least twenty-four hours prior to the scheduled time, except travel time, by means of a memorandum sent through the court administration that gives the place and day and hour of the meeting. The court may, if need be, take the inspected item under custody pending the announcement of the judgment or until any other time.

Article 114 : The court, the judge assigned or deputized for inspection may appoint one or more experts for assistance in the inspection. The court, the assigned or deputized judge may hear the testimony of any witness they desire at the place of dispute.

Article 115 : Minutes of the inspection result shall be drawn up and signed by the inspector, the clerk, and whatever experts, witnesses, and litigants were present which shall be entered into the case file.

Article 116 : Any person who has an interest in documenting the material conditions of an event that may become the subject of a dispute before the bench in the future may bring a summary case to the court of local venue, requesting an inspection in the presence of those concerned and documenting the conditions. Inspection and documentation of the condition shall be completed as per the provisions of the preceding articles.


Chapter V: Testimony


Article 117 : A litigant who requests, during proceedings, proof by the testimony of witnesses shall set forth in writing or orally during the hearing the events he wishes to prove. If the court determines that such events are admissible under the provisions of Article 97, it shall decide to hear the witnesses and shall schedule a hearing for that purpose and ask the litigant to bring them then.

Article 118 : If a witness has an excuse that prevents his appearance to testify, the judge shall proceed to where he is to hear it or the court shall assign one of its judges to do so. If the witness resides outside the area of the court's jurisdiction, the court shall deputize the court of his place of residence to hear his testimony.

Article 119 : The testimony of each witness shall be heard individually in the presence of the litigants but not in the presence of the other witnesses whose testimony had not been heard, though their failure to attend does not preclude hearing it. A witness shall state his full name, age, occupation, place of residence and whether he is related to the litigants by kinship, service, etc., if applicable, and his identity shall be verified.

Article 120 : Testimony shall be given orally. The use of written notes during testimony is permitted only with the judge's consent provided that the nature of the case justifies it. A litigant against whom the testimony is made may indicate to the court whatever prejudices the testimony by impeaching the witness or the testimony.

Article 121 : The judge on his own or at the request of a litigant may ask the witness whatever questions he determines are conducive to determining the truth. The judge shall accede to the request of the litigant in this regard unless the question is immaterial.

Article 122 : If an adversary requests time to bring witnesses absent from the judicial hearing, he shall be granted the shortest time that is adequate in the opinion of the court. If he does not bring them to the scheduled hearing or brought persons whose testimony was incompetent, he shall be given another grace period along with a warning that he would be considered in default if he does not bring them. If he does not bring them to the third hearing, or brings persons whose testimony is incompetent, the court may decide the dispute. If he has an excuse for not bringing his witnesses, such as their absence or his ignorance of their place of residence, he shall have the right to bring a case when they are available.

Article 123 : The testimony of a witness and the answers he gives to questions addressed to him shall be written in the record in the first person without change. It shall then be read to him and he may enter any amendment thereto he wishes. The amendment shall be entered after the text of the testimony and signed by both him and the judge.



Chapter VI: Expertise


Article 124 : The court may decide, when necessary, to assign one or more experts. It shall in such a decision specify the task of the expert, the time for depositing his report and the time for the litigation hearing based on the report, and shall also specify, when necessary, the advance paid to the account of the expert's expenses and fees and the litigant who shall deposit that sum and the time by which he shall make the deposit. It may also appoint an expert to give his opinion orally in a hearing, in which case the opinion shall be entered into the record.

Article 125 : If a litigant does not deposit the sum he is required to deposit within the time limit set by the court, the other litigant may make that deposit without prejudice to his right to have recourse to his adversary if a judgment is made in his favor. If neither litigant deposits the sum and resolving the case is dependent on determination by experts, the court may suspend the case until the sum is deposited.

Article 126 : If the litigants agree on a particular expert, the court may accept their agreement; otherwise, it may select an expert who enjoys its confidence.

Article 127 : Within the three days following depositing the sum, the court shall call the expert and explain to him his task as per the wording of the assignment decision. He shall then receive a copy thereof to fulfill it. The expert may review the papers in the case file but he may not copy anything without the court's permission.

Article 128 : If the expert is not attached to the court he may, within three days of receiving his assignment decision, ask the court to relieve him of the task to which he is assigned. The court may relieve him and assign another expert. It may, in accordance with Shari'ah rules, make an expert, who has failed to perform his task, pay the costs he had caused to be expended uselessly.

Article 129 : Experts may be disqualified for the same reasons that permit the disqualification of judges. The court that appointed the expert shall make an unappealable ruling on the motion to disqualify. A motion to disqualify an expert made by the litigant who has selected him shall be denied unless the reason for disqualification occurred after selection.

Article 130 : The expert shall specify a date for starting his work no later than ten days from the date of receiving his assignment decision, and shall notify the litigants of the place and time of meeting in a timely manner. The expert shall commence his work even in the absence of the litigants if they had been duly invited.

Article 131 : The expert shall prepare minutes of his task that record his work in detail and the attendance, statements, and remarks of the litigants as well as statements of persons whose hearing was dictated by circumstances, and have it signed by them. The expert shall enclose with his minutes a signed report of the result of his work, his opinion, and the grounds on which that opinion was based. If there is more than one expert, and they disagree, they shall present a single report in which they mention their individual opinions and the grounds therefor.

Article 132 : The expert shall deposit with the court administration his report and related minutes of work and papers he received. He shall inform the litigants of the deposit by registered mail within the twenty-four hours that follow such a deposit.

Article 133 : The court may, if it finds a need, summon the expert to a hearing it schedules to discuss his report. The court may return the report to the expert to correct what it considers errors and deficiencies in his work, and it may entrust this task to another expert or experts.

Article 134 : The experts' opinion is not binding on the court, which merely uses it as a guide.

Article 135 : The expenses and fees of experts shall be determined in accordance with rules issued by the Minister of Justice.

Article 136 : An experts' committee shall be formed by a decision of the Minister of Justice. The implementation regulations shall specify the competence of this committee and the manner of discharging its duties.

Article 137 : The Minister of Justice may appoint employees to work full time with courts in certain expert work.


Chapter VII: Writing


Article 138 : A document used for evidence shall be either on official paper or ordinary paper. An official paper is a paper on which a public officer or a person assigned to public service records what he has done or what he has received from those concerned, in conformity with legal conditions and within his authority and jurisdiction. An ordinary paper is a paper signed, stamped, or thumb printed by the person issuing it.

Article 139 : It shall be up to the court to determine whether any crossing out, erasure, insert, or other material defects in a document compromise its value as evidence. If in the opinion of the court the authenticity of a document is suspect, it may ask the officer who issued it or the person who wrote it for a clarification of the truth of the matter.

Article 140 : No challenge to official documents shall be allowed except by claiming forgery, unless what is set forth therein is contrary to the Shari'ah.

Article 141 : If the person to whom the contents of a paper are ascribed denies his handwriting, signature, thumbprint, or stamp, or such is denied by his successor or deputy while the paper is material to the dispute and the facts and documents of the case are not sufficient to convince the court of the validity of the handwriting or signature, the court may conduct a comparison to be made under its supervision by one or more experts to be named in the comparison decision.

Article 142 : The handwriting, signature, thumbprint, or stamp denied shall be compared with the established handwriting, signature, thumbprint, or stamp of the persons to whom the paper is ascribed.

Article 143 : The disputed document shall be signed by the judge and the clerk indicating that they had examined it. Minutes shall be entered into the record setting forth the condition and description of the document in sufficient detail, and the minutes shall be signed by the judge, the clerk, and the litigants.

Article 144 : The litigants shall appear at the time scheduled by the judge to present the documents for comparison that are in their possession with a view to selecting what is suitable for this purpose. If the litigant assigned the burden of proof fails to appear for no excuse, a decision forfeiting his right to proof may be made. If his adversary fails to appear, the papers presented for comparison may be considered valid.

Article 145 : The judge and the clerk shall affix their signatures on the comparison documents before starting the comparison, and the record shall so indicate.

Article 146 : If the original of an official document exists, the written or photocopy thereof which a public officer issues within his competence and certifies as a true copy of the original shall have the force of the original official document to the extent that he determines it to be true to the original. A certified copy shall be considered a true copy of the original unless a litigant disputes the matter, in which instance the copy shall be matched against the original. No copy shall be admissible in court if it is not certified to be a true copy of the original.

Article 147 : A person who has an ordinary document may sue the person whom the document indicates he has a right against so that he may acknowledge the document, even though the obligation set forth therein is not due at the time of the litigation. This shall be by means of a lawsuit that follows normal procedure. If the defendant appears and acknowledges, the court shall record his acknowledgement, but if he denies, the court shall order verification under the procedures detailed above.

Article 148 : When necessary, the court may, on its own or at the request of a litigant, decide to introduce documents or papers from government agencies of the Kingdom if the litigants are unable to do so.

Article 149 : A claim of forgery may be made at any stage of the case by means of a petition to the court administration setting forth all the places of forgery claimed and the verification procedures required for proof. A person charged with forgery may stop the verification process at any stage by a waiver of the challenged paper, in which case the court may, if the claimant of forgery so requests for a legitimate interest, order the paper seized or filed.

Article 150 : A claimant of forgery shall deliver to the court administration the challenged paper if in his possession or the copy communicated to him. If the paper is in the possession of the adversary, the judge, having reviewed the petition, may ask him to deliver it forthwith to the court administration. If said adversary declines to deliver the paper and the court is unable to find it, it shall be considered non-existent. This, however, shall not preclude taking any action in respect of the paper, if possible, at a later date.

Article 151 : If the claim of forgery is material to the case while the facts and documents of the case are insufficient to convince the court whether the document is genuine or forged, and the court determines that the investigation requested by the challenger in his report would be material, the court shall order such investigation.

Article 152 : If forgery of a document is established, the court shall send the document and copy of the minutes relating thereto to the agency concerned for the necessary penal procedures.

Article 153: Even if no claim of forgery is made before it, the court may disallow any document that, from its condition or from the circumstances of the case, appears to the court to be forged or suspect. The court also may discount a document whose authenticity it suspects. The court shall in such cases set forth in the judgment the circumstances and presumptions that led to such an inference.

Article 154 : To get a judgment of its forgery, a person who fears the use of a forged paper against him may sue the person who has the paper and the person who may benefit therefrom. This shall be by means of a lawsuit filed under the usual procedures. In investigating this case the court shall observe the above-mentioned rules and procedures.


Chapter VIII: Circumstantial Evidence


Article 155 : A judge may draw one or more presumptions from the facts of the case or from questioning litigants or witnesses as grounds for his judgment, or to complement incomplete evidence that was established to him, so that by both he becomes convinced of the establishment of right to a judgment.

Article 156 : Each litigant may prove what negates the presumption inferred by the judge, in which case the presumption loses its value for proof.

Article 157 : In a dispute over ownership, possession of movable property shall be a simple presumption of ownership by the possessor. The adversary may prove otherwise.






Chapter I: Rendering Judgment


Article 158 : Once proceedings are completed the court shall adjudge the case forthwith or postpone rendering judgment to a hearing which it shall schedule soon and inform the litigants of the closing of proceedings and of the time for pronouncing judgment.

Article 159 : If there are several judges the deliberation of the judgment shall be in secret. Except as provided in Article 161, only judges who have heard the arguments may participate in the deliberations.

Article 160 : During deliberations the court may hear clarifications from a litigant only in the presence of the other litigant.

Article 161 : If several judges considered the case, judgment shall be by unanimous or majority opinion and the minority shall enter its opinion in advance in the record. If no majority is obtained or if opinions diverge into more than two, the Minister of Justice shall designate a judge to support one of the opinions so that a majority is obtained for judgment.

Article 162 : After proceedings are closed and a judgment is rendered in the case the judgment shall be entered into the proceedings record preceded by the grounds on which it was based, and signed by the judge or judges who participated in the consideration of the case.

Article 163 : The judgment shall be pronounced by reading its wording in an open hearing, or by reading its wording and grounds. The judges who participated in the deliberation shall be present when the judgment is read. If something prevents a judge from attending he may be absent if he had signed the judgment entered into the record.

Article 164 : After the judgment the court shall issue a decree containing a summary of the case, responses, valid defenses, verbatim testimony of witnesses along with attestation of their characters, oaths, names of judges who participated in the judgment, the name of the court which considered the case, and the grounds, number and date of the judgment, omitting redundant and repetitious sentences that have no bearing on the judgment.

Article 165 : After pronouncing the judgment the court shall apprise litigants of the prescribed methods and deadlines for objection. Guardians, trustees, overseers [of pious endowments], public treasury administrators and officials, and representatives of government agencies shall also be apprised the moment judgment is rendered against those they represent, or for less than they requested, that the judgment must be appealed and that the court will forward the case to the Appellate Court.

Article 166 : If a judge's jurisdiction over a case lapses before a judgment is rendered, his successor may continue with the case from the point where the proceedings of his predecessor ended. He shall read to the litigants what is already in the record, which he shall honor if it had been signed by the previous judge under the signatures of the litigants and witnesses.

Article 167 : Notice of the judgment which governs execution shall be stamped with the stamp of the court after the execution formula is added, and shall be delivered only to the litigant who has an interest in its execution. Nevertheless, copies of the judgment minus the execution formula may be given to any interested party.


Chapter II: Correction and Interpretation of Judgments


Article 168 : The court by a decision it issues at the request of a litigant or on its own accord shall correct whatever purely writing or mathematical errors may have occurred in the judgment deed. Such correction shall, after the decision is entered into the case record, be made on the judgment's original and signed by the judge or judges of the court that rendered it.

Article 169 : If a court rejects the correction, the objection thereto shall be in conjunction with the objection to the judgment itself. A decision to make corrections may be independently objected to through the permissible methods of objection.

Article 170 : If the wording of the judgment is vague or confusing, the litigants may request an interpretation from the court that rendered the judgment. Such request shall be made through ordinary methods.

Article 171 : The interpretative judgment shall be added to the original of the judgment and signed by the judge or judges of the court that rendered the judgment. The interpretation shall be considered as complementary to the original judgment and shall be subject to the methods of objection which are applicable to the original judgment.

Article 172 : If a court neglects to decide on requests related to subject matter, the party concerned may request the court to ask his adversary to appear before it, following normal procedures, for consideration of the request and a ruling thereon.






Chapter I: General Provisions


Article 173 : Methods of objection to judgments are appeal and petition to reconsider.

Article 174 : Only the party against whom judgment is rendered may object to it. A person who has accepted the judgment or was awarded all his requests may not object unless the laws provide otherwise.

Article 175 : No objection may be made to rulings issued before the case is decided and with which the litigation does not end wholly or partially except in conjunction with the objection to the judgment on the merits. Objection before judgment on the on merits may be permitted against a decision to suspend the case and against temporary and summary rulings.

Article 176 : The time limit for objecting to a judgment shall begin from the date the notification of the judgment is delivered to the person who lost the case and his signing the record, or from the date prescribed for his receiving the notification if he was not present. The time limit of objecting to a default judgment shall start from the date it is communicated to the person who lost the case or to his attorney-in-fact.

Article 177 : The time limit for objecting shall be suspended with the death or loss of competence of the objector or with the loss of capacity of the one on whose behalf the proceeding was conducted. The suspension shall continue until the judgment is communicated to the heirs or their representative, or the contingency ends.


Chapter II: Appeals


Article 178 : The time period for filing an appeal shall be thirty days. If a litigant does not file an appeal during this period he loses his right to appeal. The court shall write minutes thereof in the case record, and make a marginal note on the deed or register thereof, that the judgment had acquired the character of finality.

Article 179 : All judgments are appealable except for judgments in petty cases as defined by the Supreme Judicial Council in a decision made by its general panel at the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.

However, if the party against whom judgment is rendered is an endowment administrator, guardian, trustee, official of the public treasury, or the representative of a government agency or suchlike, or he was absent, the court must forward the judgment to the Appellate Court for review regardless of the subject matter of the judgment. Exceptions are:

  • A judgment against the public treasury made by a competent judge to execute an earlier final judgment.
  • A judgment regarding a sum of money which a person had deposited in favor of another person or his heirs, unless the depositor or his representative objects thereto.

Article 180 : The objection brief, containing the judgment objected to and its date, the grounds for objection, the requests of the objector, and reasons in support of the objection, shall be presented to the administration of the court that made the judgment.

Article 181 : After the judge who issued the judgment appealed against reviews the objection brief, he may, without any litigation, reconsider the judgment on the basis of the aspects on which the objection was based. He may affirm or amend the judgment as seems proper to him. If he affirms the judgment, he shall forward the same along with copy of the case record and all papers to the Appellate Court. If he amends it, the amended judgment shall be notified to the litigants, and normal procedures shall prevail in such a case.

Article 182 : If a litigant asks to review the objection brief of his adversary, the Appellate Court may enable him to do so if it deems it proper, and prescribe a deadline for his response.

Article 183 : The Appellate Court shall decide on the objection on the basis of the file papers. Litigants may appear before it only if the court so decides or pursuant to applicable laws.

Article 184 : Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 180, the Appellate Court may permit litigants to present new data in support of the grounds for objection set forth in the brief. It may take whatever measures are helpful for deciding the case.

Article 185 : If the Appellate Court determines that the consequences of the text of the judgment are consistent with its Shari'ah premises, it shall affirm the judgment and draw the attention of the judge to whatever comments it may have.

Article 186 : If the judgment is objected to on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction, the Appellate Court shall confine itself to the issue of jurisdiction.

Article 187 : If the Appellate Court has comments on the judgment, it shall prepare and send to the judge a decision to that effect. If the judge is not convinced by the arguments of the Appellate Court, he shall respond with his views after entering the same in the record book. If he is convinced, he shall report these views to the litigants, listen to their statements, and enter the same in the record. He shall then render his judgment. Such a judgment shall be appealable if it amends the earlier judgment.

Article 188 : The Appellate Court shall affirm the judgment if it is convinced by the judge's response to its comments. If it is not convinced, and the judge maintained his opinion, it may reverse the judgment in whole or in part depending on the circumstances, giving the grounds therefor, and refer the case to another judge.

Nevertheless, if the subject matter as it stands is ripe for judgment, and the circumstances of the case require expeditious action, the court may adjudge the case. If the judgment is reversed for the second time, the Appellate Court must adjudge the case. Any time the court adjudges a case, the judgment must be in the presence of the litigants and their arguments must be heard. Its judgment shall be final when taken unanimously or by a majority vote.

Article 189 : If it is impossible to send the comments to the judge who rendered the judgment due to death or otherwise, the Appellate Court shall send its comments to the successor judge, or reverse the judgment, giving the grounds therefor.

Article 190 : Reversing a judgment shall entail revocation of all subsequent decisions and procedures if said judgment formed their basis.

Article 191 : If only part of the judgment is reversed, the other parts remain effective unless division is not possible.


Chapter III: Petition to Reconsider


Article 192 : Any litigant may petition for reconsideration of final judgments in the following circumstances:

  • If the judgment was based on papers that were subsequently found to be a forgery or on a testimony that was subsequently ruled perjury by the competent agency.
  • If after the judgment the petitioner obtained conclusive papers for the case that he was unable to produce before the judgment.
  • If an act of fraud was committed by the adversary which would have a bearing on the judgment.
  • If the judgment awards what the litigants did not ask, or more than they had asked.
  • If the text of the judgment is inconsistent.
  • If judgment is a default judgment.
  • If the judgment is against a person not properly represented in the case.

Article 193 : The time limit for a petition to reconsider shall be thirty days from the day on which the petitioner is established to have learned of forgery of the papers, the testimony was adjudged to have been perjurious, the document listed under Article 193 Paragraph B appeared, or fraud was discovered. The time limit for situations listed under Paragraphs D, E, F and G of the preceding Article begin from the time the judgment was communicated.

Article 194 : The petition to reconsider shall be presented by filing the petition memorandum with the Appellate Court. The declaration must detail the judgment subject of the petition to reconsider and the grounds for the petition. If convinced, the Appellate Court shall make a decision to that effect and send the petition to the competent court for consideration.

Article 195 : Neither a decision rejecting the petition nor a judgment on the merits of the case after the acceptance thereof may be challenged by means of a petition to reconsider.

[continued on page 3 of 3]


The revitalization of Saudi Arabia's political system reflects the nation's adaptability to modern development without compromising its religious and cultural values.

Basic System of Government
The Basic System of Government identifies the nature of the state, its goals and responsibilities, as well as the relationship between the ruler and citizens.

Council of Ministers System
In 1953, King Saud bin Abdulaziz established the Council of Ministers to facilitate the Kingdom's development.

Majlis Al-Shura (Consultative Council)
The primary function of Majlis Al-Shura is to advise the King on issues of importance to the nation.

Provincial System
To further raise the efficiency of administration and to promote the continued development of the county's provinces and their extensive social services programs, King Fahd promulgated new bylaws for the Provincial System in 1992.