Saudi Arabia

Enforcing Contracts in

Saudi Arabia

Below is a detailed summary of the efficiency of contract enforcement. It follows the evolution of a sale of goods dispute, tracking the time, cost and number of procedures involved from the moment the plaintiff files the lawsuit until actual payment.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2014.

This year, Doing Business has collected new data for 162 economies on the overall judicial infrastructure, the level of automation in the court system, the availability of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the availability of case management. The new data is available under the “Methodology Expansion” tab, below. The data are preliminary and do not have any impact on the Ease of Doing Business 2015 rankings. This data may differ from what will be published in Doing Business 2016.

Compare Saudi Arabia to 188 other economies.

  • Court name: Riyadh Board of Grievances, Commercial Circuit
  • Claim value: SAR 158,628
  • City: Riyadh
Time (days) 635
Filing and service 30
Trial and judgment 365
Enforcement of judgment 240
Cost (% of claim) 27.5
Attorney cost (% of claim) 20
Court cost (% of claim) 7.5
Enforcement Cost (% of claim) 0
Procedures (number) 40
Filing and service
1      Plaintiff requests payment: Plaintiff or his lawyer asks Defendant orally or in writing to comply with the contract.
2      Plaintiff hires a lawyer: Plaintiff hires a lawyer.
*      Assignment of court case to a judge: Assignment of court case to a judge (through a random procedure, automated system, ruling of an administrative judge, court officer, etc).
3      Delivery of summons and complaint to person authorized to perform service of process on Defendant: The judge or a court officer delivers the summons to a summoning office, officer, or authorized person (including Plaintiff), for service of process on Defendant.
4      Attempt at physical delivery: An attempt to physically deliver summons and complaint to Defendant is made.
*      Proof of service: Plaintiff submits proof of service to court, as required by law or standard practice.
*      Application for pre-judgment attachment: Plaintiff submits an application in writing for the attachment of Defendant's property prior to judgment.
*      Decision on pre-judgment attachment: Judge decides whether to grant Plaintiff’s request for pre-judgment attachment of Defendant’s property and notifies Plaintiff and Defendant of the decision.
5      Guarantees securing attached property: Plaintiff submits guarantees or bonds to secure Defendant against possible damages to attached property.
6      Pre-judgment attachment order: Defendant's property is attached prior to judgment. Attachment order either involves physical attachment, or is achieved by freezing, registering, marking, or otherwise separating and restricting Defendant’s movement of specific moveable assets.
7      Custody of assets attached prior to judgment: If physical attachment is ordered, Defendant's attached assets are placed in the custody or control of an enforcement officer or private bailiff.
8      Report on pre-judgment attachment: Court enforcement officer or private bailiff issues and delivers a report on the attachment of Defendant’s property to the judge.
9      Hearing on pre-judgment attachment: A hearing takes place as a matter of law or standard practice to resolve the question of whether Defendant’s assets can be attached prior to judgment. This process may include the submission of separate summons and petitions.
Trial and judgment
10      Defendant files an answer to Plaintiff’s claim: Defendant files a written pleading which includes his answer or defense on the merits of the case (see assumption 4).
11      Deadline for Plaintiff to reply to Defendant's defense or answer: Judge sets a deadline for Plaintiff’s submission of a reply to the Defendant's defense or answer.
12      Plaintiff’s written reply to Defendant's answer: Plaintiff responds to Defendant’s answer with a written pleading, which may or may not include witness statements or expert (witness) statements.
13      Filing of written submissions: Plaintiff and Defendant file written pleadings and submissions with the court and transmit copies of the written pleadings or submissions to one another. The pleadings may or may not include witness statements or expert (witness) statements.
14      Adjournments: Court procedure is delayed because one or both parties request and obtain an adjournment to submit written pleadings. Check as ‘yes’ if this commonly happens.
*      Court appointment of independent expert: Judge appoints, either at the parties' request or at his own initiative, an independent expert to decide whether the quality of the goods Plaintiff delivered to Defendant is adequate. (see assumption 5-b).
15      Notification of court-appointment of independent expert: The court notifies both parties that the court is appointing an independent expert (see assumption 5-b).
*      Delivery of expert report by court-appointed expert: The independent expert, appointed by the court, delivers his or her expert report to the court (see assumption 5-b).
16      Pre-trial conference on procedure: The judge meets with the parties to discuss procedural issues (for example which applications and motions parties intend to file, which documents parties intend to rely on, etc.).
17      Request for oral hearing or trial: Plaintiff lists the case for trial on the court’s calendar or applies for the date(s) for the oral hearing or trial.
*      Setting of date(s) for oral hearing or trial: Judge sets the date(s) for the oral hearing or trial.
*      List of (expert) witnesses: The parties file a list of (expert) witnesses with the court (see assumption 5-a).
18      Summoning of (expert) witnesses: The court summons (expert) witnesses to appear in court for the oral hearing or trial (see assumption 5-a).
19      Adjournments: Court proceedings are delayed because one or both parties request and obtain an adjournment to prepare for the oral hearing or trial as a matter of common practice.
20      Trial (prevalent in common law): The parties argue the merits of the case at (an) oral session(s) before the court. Witnesses and expert witnesses are questioned and cross-examined during trial.
21      Adjournments: Court proceedings are delayed because one or both parties request and obtain an adjournment during the oral hearing or trial, resulting in an additional or later trial or hearing date.
22      Order for submission of final arguments: The judge sets a deadline for the submission of final factual and legal arguments.
*      Final arguments: The parties present their final factual and legal arguments to the court either by oral presentation or by a written submission.
23      Judgment date: The judge sets a date for delivery of the judgment.
24      Notification of judgment in court: The parties are notified of the judgment at a court hearing.
25      Writing of judgment: The judge produces a written copy of the judgment.
26      Registration of judgment: The court office registers the judgment after receiving a written copy of the judgment.
27      Court notification of availability of the written judgment: The court notifies the parties that the written judgment is available at the courthouse.
28      Plaintiff receives a copy of the judgment: Plaintiff receives a copy of the written judgment which is 100% in favor of Plaintiff (see assumption 6).
29      Defendant is formally notified of the judgment: Plaintiff or court formally notifies the Defendant of the judgment. The appeal period starts to run from the day the Defendant is formally notified of the judgment.
30      Appeal period: By law Defendant has the opportunity to appeal the judgment during a specified period. Defendant decides not to appeal. Seller decides to start enforcing the judgment when the appeal period ends (see assumption 8).
Enforcement of judgment
*      Plaintiff hires a lawyer: Plaintiff hires a lawyer to enforce the judgment or continues to be represented by a lawyer during the enforcement of judgment phase.
31      Plaintiff retains an enforcement agent to enforce the judgment.: Plaintiff retains the services of a court enforcement officer such as a court bailiff or sheriff, or a private bailiff.
*      Plaintiff requests an enforcement order: Plaintiff applies to the court to obtain the enforcement order ('seal' on judgment).
32      Attachment of enforcement order to judgment: The judge attaches the enforcement order (‘seal’) to the judgment.
*      Delivery of enforcement order: The court's enforcement order is delivered to a court enforcement officer or a private bailiff.
*      Plaintiff’s request for physical enforcement: As Plaintiff commonly fears that Defendant might physically resist the taking into custody of its previously attached movable assets, Plaintiff requests the judge or the police authorities to obtain police assistance during the physical enforcement of the
33      Judge's order for physical enforcement: Judge orders the police to assist with the physical enforcement of the attachment of Defendant's movable assets. Check as “yes” only if the pretrial order of attachment for Defendant’s moveable assets does not ordinarily involve physical seizure of the as
34      Request to Defendant to comply voluntarily with judgment: Plaintiff, a court enforcement officer or a private bailiff requests Defendant to voluntarily comply with the judgment.
35      Identification of Defendant's assets by court official or Defendant for purposes of enforcement: The judge, a court enforcement officer, a private bailiff or the Defendant himself identifies Defendant's movable assets for the purposes of enforcing the judgment through a sale of Defendant’s assets.
36      Creditor notification of intent to attach: A court enforcement officer or private bailiff notifies other creditors of the intent to attach Defendant's goods.
37      Attachment: Defendant’s movable goods are attached (physically or by registering, marking or separating assets).
38      Report on execution of attachment: A court enforcement officer or private bailiff delivers a report on the attachment of Defendant's movable goods to the judge.
39      Call for public auction: Judge calls a public auction by, for example, advertising or publication in the newspapers.
40      Sale through public auction: The Defendant’s movable property is sold at public auction.
41      Distribution of proceeds: The proceeds of the public auction are distributed to Plaintiff (and, where applicable, to other creditors, according to the rules of priority).
42      Payment: Court orders that the proceeds of the public auction or the direct sale be delivered to Plaintiff.

Number of Procedures 42
Electronic filing of court cases -1
Specialized commercial courts -1
Total Number of Procedures 40.0

  * Not counted in the total number of procedures
Indicator Questions
In the measured city, is there a small claims court or a fast-track procedure for small claims?

A small claims court is a court with limited jurisdiction to hear cases with relatively small amounts of money. These courts usually have relaxed rules of civil procedure, relaxed rules of evidence and are characterized by the use of plain language.
Is voluntary post-filing mediation available?

Voluntary post-filing mediation is a type of mediation that originates from the court after the case is filed. Voluntary refers to the possibility for the parties to opt out.
Is case management available within the competent court?

Case management refers to a set of principles or techniques for controlling the movement of cases through the court, enhancing procedural efficiency and facilitating the day-to-day activities of judges, court users and court staff. Commonly used techniques in case management include setting tight timelines for key steps in processing cases, setting firm and credible hearing dates, arranging pretrial and scheduling conferences and requiring early disclosure.
If case management is available within the competent court, are any of its components automated?

Automated case management techniques could offer: (i) the ability for lawyers and judges to effectively track the status of cases and their position in the court process from the moment a case is filed until the moment the case is resolved; (ii) detailed workload statistics and management reports; (iii) the ability to monitor case processes.
Is a pre-trial conference part of the case management system before the competent court?

A pre-trial conference is a meeting designed to narrow down contentious issues and evidentiary questions before the trial. Its purpose is to expedite the trial process while discouraging unnecessary pretrial motions or other delay tactics.
Are Supreme Court and Appellate Court judgments published online or in official gazettes? No
Fearing that the defendant may dissipate assets, move assets out of the jurisdiction or become insolvent, would the plaintiff be allowed to request and obtain attachment of the defendant's movable assets prior to obtaining a judgment? No
Is it possible to carry out service of process electronically (by e-mail, SMS, fax, etc.)? No

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