In Saudi Arabia the Supreme Judiciary Council has approved the establishment of specialised commercial courts in the main cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. A new commercial courts circuit will also be created within the general courts system in certain other cities, including Makkah and Medina.
The judicial system is undergoing significant reform in Saudi Arabia and these developments are part of that process. In recent years, the courts system has been divided into two branches: the Shari'ah courts and the Board of Grievances. The Shari'ah courts comprise the general courts and the criminal courts. The general courts hear certain civil cases between private parties. The Board of Grievances adjudicates (i) between Saudi government agencies and private parties and (ii) in certain commercial disputes between private parties, and is also the forum in which proceedings for enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards are heard.
The Supreme Judicial Council supervises the Shari'ah judiciary, as well as administering the promotion, transfer and training of judges. It also has jurisdiction to resolve conflicts arising between the final judgments of the Shari'ah courts and the Board of Grievances.