The year 2019 was a continuation of the development taking place inside the Saudi judiciary. The ministry of justice had a busy year launching initiatives, developing processes and procedures, and raising awareness of legal rights among the public.
The Saudi justice minister Waleed Al Samaani marked 2019 as a busy year for the ministry, where so much has been accomplished in 12 months, helping the Saudi judiciary not only create more ease and efficiency, but also boost the ranking of the Kingdom in a number of global indicators.
The ministry launched the first phase in May 2019 and the second phase in November 2019. It is a fund that financially covers families with children, who are going through divorce. The fund provides urgent financial coverage to those who are still in the process of separation, coverage during litigation period, and a long term financial coverage after completion of the divorce process.
Custody and visitation centers
The ministry opened a number of centers to implement custody and visitation provisions. The centers are well equipped and provide a family-friendly environment for families to come together.
Audiovisual recordings of court hearings
This is one of the most significant digital services which the ministry has started launching gradually inside courts. The visual documentation of court hearing sessions has provided courts, judges and legal practitioners with efficient access to hearing sessions through the court database in order to help retrieve and review certain cases and files.
Notarization services going digital and more mobile
From the launch of digital notarization to the expansion of mobile notaries. The ministry’s work and focus on investing in this area have been impactful. The availability of digital notarization services helped many clients complete a number of services online without visiting notarial offices. Services include issuing a PoA, checking the validity of PoA or canceling a PoA. The title deeds check and update and many other services.
Similarly, the introduction of mobile notarial services to those clients who cannot physically visit a notary office has been expanding across more than 26 cities and towns around the Kingdom.
Sign language availability
The launch of sign language service on all ministry premises is one important step towards helping to reach out to a wider audience. The service helps clients with hearing difficulties communicate better with ministry staff and understand their legal rights.
Judicial Command Center
The launch of the judicial command center is one of the important initiatives by the ministry in 2019 to monitor performance and provide the necessary support. Since the launch of the center back in October, the ministry was able to identify development opportunities through different reports the center generated on the performance of courts, notaries, and other legal facilities.
Redefining reconciliation and mediation system
The ministry has given special attention to reconciliation and mediation system, it has introduced a number of procedures to create ease and accessibility to reconciliation to encourage parties in dispute to consider alternative means of settlement, reconciliation services are also made available virtually to those who are unable to physically attend a reconciliation session.
The development in Saudi judiciary contributed to global ranking improvement of Saudi Arabia. According to Global Competitiveness Report 2019 by World Economic Forum; Saudi Arabia jumped eight positions in “judicial independence”, reaching the 16th ranking globally.
Similarly, the World Bank's ease of doing business report 2020 has reported two significant jumps for the Kingdom in two indicators directly related to the Judiciary system; one is contract enforcement, and the second is property ownership registration.