SCCA Highlights Efforts of Saudi Judiciary in Transforming Saudi Arabia into an ADR Friendly Jurisdiction

Riyadh-- In partnership with 10 leading international law firms and in the presence of high-level arbitration leaders, business executives, legal advisers, and lawyers, SCCA concluded its 2nd annual Symposium as part of the "Dubai Arbitration Week 2022". SCCA highlighted the development of arbitration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the GCC region. It also underscored SCCA's role in facilitating business and creatively resolving commercial disputes.

The 2nd Symposium entitled “Making the Case for ADR in the GCC – Key Factors & Successes” was supported by its diamond sponsor Saudi Aramco, in partnership with 10 renowned international law firms.

The first session featured leading General Counsels discussing their experience and current strategy for ADR in the GCC and the role of corporate GC’s in activating ADR in their contracts. The second and third sessions featured 6 international lawyers each from preeminent international law firms; with the second evaluating the ADR friendliness of states, relative competitiveness of ADR institutions and the appeal of legal seats for arbitration in the GCC; and the third discussing challenges for arbitration in the GCC and opportunities to improve the arbitration landscape.

During the Symposium, SCCA shared further findings related to an ongoing case law study SCCA started last year. It included a batch of 180 judgements from the Court of Appeals from 2021, bring up the total of reviewed arbitration-related judgments to 720.

The new findings confirmed last year’s trend that the Saudi judiciary is complying with international best practices, thereby strengthening Saudi as a safe seat of arbitration. In particular, strict and consistent application of the annulment grounds codified in Article 50(1) of the Saudi Arbitration Law and consistent dismissal of party attempts to have the arbitral award reviewed regarding the facts and subject matter (Article 50(4)). The findings of the overall study show that the percentage of successful annulments of arbitral award remains below 8%, a performance that is equal if not better when compared to the average rate of other leading jurisdictions. The Saudi courts also apply a strict and narrow interpretation of what violates of Sharia and public policy. Of the 131 annulment actions found in the study, only 3.8% succeeded based on grounds that were found to violate of Sharia and public policy, giving reassurance and stability that arbitral awards are not arbitrarily annulled in Saudi.

Commenting at the conclusion of the Symposium and the findings of the SCCA case law study, Dr. Walid bin Sulaiman Abanumay, Chairman of the SCCA Board of Directors, noted: "The financial and business environment depends on the support of the judiciary to enforce the arbitral awards and turn them into reality. Findings of the SCCA caselaw study revealed the qualitative performance of the Saudi courts in enhancing the Kingdom's position as a supportive and friendly jurisdiction for arbitration."

Dr. Abanumay added that “SCCA plays a leading role in enhancing the reputation of its judicial environment, by organizing international Symposia to inform the regional and international arbitration community of the progress achieved by Saudi in facilitating business and attracting investments, and to enhance SCCA’s international position in providing ADR as part of its ongoing work to be the preferred ADR choice in the region by 2030.”

Source: Saudi Press Agency