Crossroads Arabia

Saudi Courts: Evaders Nowhere To Hide?

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Until a new law kicks in, it’s pretty easy to avoid unfavorable court decisions in Saudi Arabia. How? It’s simple: don’t show up at court!

That has been the practice. By just refusing to show up in court, a defendant can stall the case interminably. Nor do the Saudi courts work effectively to compel compliance with verdicts.

This is all set to change, Saudi Gazette/Okaz inform us, with regulations that trim the loopholes and make law a more substantial matter. The ability to ignore the courts did nothing to sustain the role of the courts; it instead harmed them. Soon, though, ignoring a court order could result in a seven-year jail term in and of itself.

Subpoena evaders will be brought to task
Ahmad Ajab Al-Zahrani | Okaz newspaper

Recently, my legal advice was sought by different people who had taken their cases to court, had them reviewed, yet no verdict was announced as the defendant refused to show up. In child custody, unpaid loans, and rent cases, verdicts are often issued but defendants are never arrested. It is alleged that defendants would hide in their homes when they knew a court officer was knocking at their door with a subpoena.

People who have come to me seeking legal advice have navigated the time consuming procedures of our legal system to no avail, and I was unable to give them any useful advice. I simply told them not to expect any new development in their cases as long as verdicts were being enforced using outdated measures, and asked them instead to wait for the recently approved regulations to be applied.

The new regulations aim to tighten the noose around the neck of defendants who ignore subpoenas and refuse to show up in court. A new department will be created within each court, responsible for enforcing verdicts. The new regulations will also grant judges the power to pronounce verdicts and allow police to enter the house of anyone evading court subpoenas by force…

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