In line with its Vision 2030 strategy, Saudi Arabia has undertaken a series of reforms to diversify the economy and remodel laws. Additionally, the pandemic accelerated these changes, including the development of the legal system. Here we take a look at the modernisation of Saudi’s legal framework since Covid-19.
While the Saudi government was already taking steps to modernise the legal system before Covid-19, the pandemic has been a key catalyst for change in the Kingdom. Some of the most important changes include:
Online court systems have modernised how cases are heard and processed, which is one of the most significant changes to Saudi’s legal framework since Covid-19.
You can now electronically file documents, submit evidence, and even attend court hearings via video link. This has made the system more accessible, as parties do not need to always physically attend court. The result is a more efficient system with shorter case turnaround times.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia opened its doors for foreign law firms to establish themselves in the country. By implementing this change, institutions can receive more efficient services and improve their business processes. In addition, legal practitioners will have the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills.
To apply for a licence, foreign law firms must have two partners who reside in Saudi Arabia, not more than 30% of their fee revenue must originate from outside the Kingdom, and no work related to Saudi law may be passed on to an outside office.
A component of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Framework is the increased participation of women in the workforce, which has led to an increase in the number of women in the legal field.
In 2013 there were only 10 licensed female lawyers in the Kingdom. As of 2016, when Vision 2030 was launched, there were 118 female lawyers, rising to 785 by mid-2020. Presently more than 1,000 female lawyers represent approximately 12% of all Saudi licensed lawyers.
In the midst of the nation’s digital transformation, laws governing emerging technologies and business models are becoming increasingly necessary. To meet these needs, the Saudi government has passed several laws regarding e-commerce, cybercrime, and data protection.
In addition to protecting consumers and businesses, the laws encourage innovation and investment. Also, new laws introduced this year require anyone generating income through social media to be licensed, including influencers.
As Saudi Arabia moves toward Vision 2030, key measures to support businesses and the economy have been implemented post the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Kingdom continues to enhance foreign investment, aligning a number of laws and regulations with international best practices.
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