The Law Firm of Hazim Al Madani Attorneys and Legal Consultants

Amendments to the Executive Regulation of the Shariah Pleading Law, concerning the Commercial Court

  1. On 9/6/1439 AH, corresponding to 25/2/2018, the Minister of Justice, President of the Supreme Judicial Council, issued a decision to amend some articles of the Executive Regulation of the Shariah Pleading Law, where most of these amendments were in the interests of the Commercial Judiciary, in belief of its importance; as it has recently become independent of the umbrella of the Board of Grievances, and is now under the umbrella of the Ministry of Justice.

    These amendments came at a time when the commercial judiciary desperately needed it, taking into account the importance of the time factor for merchants and the support of commercial work in the Kingdom, without prejudice to the quality and fairness of the rulings.

    Some of these amendments came in the form of periods that obligated the commercial courts to set the date of the first session not to exceed twenty days from the date of registration with the court administration. Which helped the works of this condition in technology, the previous amendments to the methods of notifying the defendant electronically made this condition logical in existence and easily applicable. This did not fully take into account the importance of time for traders, as it had previously taken more than two months to register the case with the court administration until the date of the first hearing, leaving the opportunity for the plaintiff to notify the defendant according to the previously established methods under the system.

    Furthermore, these amendments came with a full conclusion and resolution for the controversy and conflict regarding the Judge’s acceptance to review the lawsuit and adjudicate its competence in all its types; as this matter was previously handled by the District Judge; in order to review the competence, regardless of its type at any stage of the proceedings. It was highly likely for the Judge to reject the lawsuit due to the incompetence of his court to review it at any time, which greatly affected the litigants; and so the text of Article (56/3) of the Executive Regulation for the Shariah Pleadings Law was decisive and binding on the Judge to examine the preliminary matters regarding the competence and the terms for the appeals’ acceptance at the first hearing and the adjudication thereon, which will save a lot of time and effort on the litigants. It should also be noted that this text was not exclusive to the Commercial Judiciary in particular, but included other types of lawsuits and courts; for example, the General Court, which procedurally follows the Shariah Pleadings Law.

    For the convenience of the litigants in the Commercial Judiciary, and given the importance of time for traders, and for the purposes of expedited adjudication of the commercial lawsuits, the Executive Regulation of the Shariah Pleadings Law authorized the Court to enable the parties to exchange memoranda and documents through the Court Administration within a period not exceeding 90 days; provided that the Judge’s decision to allow the exchange process will include a specification of the number of the exchanged memoranda, the submission date of each memorandum, and the date of the next hearing; on the condition that the number of hearings does not exceed 3 pleading hearings after notifying the Defendant; as several hearings used to be held to exchange memoranda, pleadings and responses without specifying a number thereto, which gave the stalling litigant the opportunity to stall the case by repeating the same responses in many of the memoranda without justification; thus exhausting the Plaintiff and the Judiciary without any justification.

    In order to save time in the Commercial Judiciary, the Executive Regulation of the Shariah Pleadings Law has committed the expert appointed by the Commercial Court’s Judge to file the expertise report at the Court Administration within a maximum period of 60 days from his assignment date, and if he fails to do so, the Court may extend that period by no more than an additional 30 days.

    To ensure justice and the quality of judicial decisions in the Commercial Judiciary in particular, the Executive Regulation of the Shariah Pleadings Law has authorized for each of the parties to discuss its testimony directly under the supervision of the Commercial Judge. These amendments have also allowed parties to the lawsuit– whether it’s the Plaintiff or the Defendant – to request for the other party’s documents, so long as it is related to the case or may lead to the truth, and the Court may order their submission or review them as appropriate; and among these documents, for example, are the accounting books, which established other Laws to be maintained by the other Laws.

    These amendments to the Executive Regulation for the Shariah Pleadings Law are a great contribution in raising the quality of the Commercial Judiciary in terms of time and justice all at once, and we aspire for these amendments to be established in other procedural Laws in the future.

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