Enforcement (Amendment) Act 2017 to the implementation Act 2013 of Saudi Arabia: A Critical Review

Mr. Abdulkarim Alotaibi
PhD Candidate – School of Law – University of Warwick – Coventry – UK


The current legal framework in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia compels both court decisions and arbitration tribunal awards seeking enforcement in the kingdom to go through specialised enforcement courts and be subject to the enforcement law of 2013. This law is the first unified enforcement regulation in the kingdom’s legislative history and reflects a real attempt towards modernising the kingdom’s legal framework. Before the introduction of the 2013 enforcement regulation, the enforcement of foreign decisions and awards used to be subject to unnecessary complications that made the kingdom’s legal system less attractive to international commerce.
However, the kingdom’s authorities have realised such deficiency in its enforcement procedures and as a result the enforcement law of 2013 was issued. This regulation was followed by the issuance of a number of other regulations in different areas of law. These regulations aim to codify the Saudi legal system by creating a set of written rules that are easily accessible by both concerned parties, whether local or foreign. Such attempts to codify the kingdom’s legal system has helped bring the kingdom’s legal framework more in line with the developed world’s practices and increased its attractiveness and reliability in concern to foreign commerce.
This is particularly important because the kingdom has suffered from a long-standing history of dissatisfying foreign commerce especially when it comes to the enforcement of foreign awards and decisions. In light of such a vision for modernisation, the kingdom has further attempted to develop its enforcement procedures by issuing a second implementation act for the 2013 enforcement regulation. This act was issued in November 2017 and introduced nine new provisions that attempt to clarify some of ambiguities embodied in the 2013 enforcement regulation. This paper aims to critically assess the 2017 amendments and the extent to which they develop the enforcement procedure in Saudi Arabia.

Keywords: Saudi Courts, arbitration tribunal, specialised enforcement courts, modernising the saudi’s legal framework, foreign commerce.

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