Saudi Arabia: New Evidence Law

PrintMailRate-it

published on 19 December 2022 | reading time approx. 3 minutes

  

On 8 July 2022, a new Evidence Law came into force in Saudi Arabia. The new law aims to eliminate discrepancies in courts. The new Evidence Law is one of the four legislative projects announced last year by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The new law of evidence supports the realization of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and Saudi Arabia's goal of developing its judiciary to be in line with global methods and prac­tices. It is expected that the new law will help to achieve sustainable development and create an attractive legal environment that allows for greater confidence in contracts and obligations in general.

 

  

  
  

The legislative amendment is in line with the provisions of globally accepted legal standards and the project is considered to be the centerpiece of a legal environment that can attract investment and achieve the desired legal objectives.
 
The new Evidence Law will apply to all civil and commercial transactions. Furthermore, it is applicable to criminal cases to the extent that there is no regulating provision in the Law of Criminal Procedure and the norm is applicable in criminal law by its nature. In the absence of a provision in the Law of Civil Procedure before the Board of Grievances, the law is also applicable to administrative cases.
 
The new Evidence Law, when it comes into force, will replace the provisions in the Law of Civil Procedure and Law of Commercial Courts on the law of evidence, so that all the provisions on the law of evidence will be available in one law.
 
If there is a gap in the Evidence Law, the legislator intended that the provisions of the Law of Civil Procedure and the Law of the Commercial Court are applicable. Should there also be a lack of regulation here, the principles of the Sharia apply.
 
The new law introduces different types of evidence: judicial and non-judicial evidence, as well as written evidence in official and ordinary documents, digital evidence, testimony, custom and habit, oath, inspection and experience, and any evidence stipulated in Sharia or any other applicable law.
 
Any disposition the value of which exceeds one hundred thousand Saudi Riyals or its equivalent in foreign currency, and any disposition the value of which is not specified, shall be in writing. This does not apply if the parties have agreed otherwise in writing or if there is a legal provision permitting a non-written declaration. 
 
The Evidence Law now permits submission of digital evidence. The Minister of Justice, together with the Supreme Judicial Council, will issue regulations on the electronic procedure in connection with the submission and examination of evidence and the issuing of judgments on this ground. The law gives digital evidence the same evidential value as the traditional written document.
 
The court has the right to acknowledge evidence taken outside of the Kingdom, including paper and digital documents, which must be authenticated by the competent authorities of the state in which the document was issued and certified by the competent Saudi authorities. All foreign documents must be authenticated by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and need to be translated into Arabic.
 
The new law stresses that no witness may be harmed because of his or her testimony. The court must prevent any attempt by which the witness could be intimidated or influenced. In addition, there is now the concept of direct witness examination. Litigants can now ask questions directly to the witness. They no longer have to put their questions directly to the judge, who has discretion as to whether to refer the question to the witness. The court can now also call witnesses on its own initiative without one of the parties having requested it to do so.
 
The new law also regulates the use of an expert. The judge may not pass judgements based on his or her personal knowledge.
 
The parties may agree on their own regulations that deviate from the law of evidence, which must be accepted by the court. For example, the parties may agree to accept the result of an expert's report in the preparation of a legal dispute or, at the request of one party, to exclude certain documents from being produced in court in order to preserve confidentiality.
 
There is no strictly formalized procedure to prove obligations between the parties. Due to the “discovery concept”, parties are now allowed to request disclosure of documents from the other party.

Contact

Contact Person Picture

Tarek Antaki

Associate Partner

+971 4 295 0020

Send inquiry

 Read More

Deutschland Weltweit Search Menu