Ever since the inception of the civil courts in Saudi Arabia, filing a case has been free of charge. However, this is set to change with a recent proposed draft law for judicial fees which is currently under review by the Saudi Board of Experts. We expect the draft to become a final law soon, after being approved by a Royal Decree.
Once approved, the law will apply to all cases before the Saudi Courts, except for a small number of cases that will be excluded such as Criminal cases, Family cases and enforcement cases. The law will require fees to be paid even in relation to requests made to the Court for documents or copies of documents, such as certified copies of a judgment. Furthermore, all court fees paid by the claimant will be required to be paid by the losing party. In the event that the Court has not awarded the full amount of the claim, the losing party will be required to pay only part of the court fees, in a manner proportionate to the degree of success of the winning party.
The draft law contains no provisions specifying the type and amount of fees. We understand, however, that the maximum cost will not exceed one million Saudi Riyals. Further clarification will be provided in the Implementing Regulations, which will be published after the law becomes final.
Once the law becomes final and is published, we will publish further information in relation to the main provisions covered by the new law together with a more detailed analysis of the impact for businesses either seeking to pursue, or alternatively defend, litigation within the Kingdom.