This Update is produced on a monthly basis. It provides an update on new legislation in certain Middle East countries (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates) where SNR Denton has offices. We also include Turkey and Lebanon updates from our affiliate and associate firms in Istanbul and Beirut respectively.

This Update is not an exhaustive list of all new legislation, but a summary of new legislation that we feel may be significant for clients. Should you require further detail on any of the laws referred to in this Update, please contact the relevant managing partner. Please note that, in some jurisdictions, new laws may come into effect which have not been officially published in the publications we have reviewed as mentioned below. Also, some of the official publications in these jurisdictions are not published on a regular basis.  


New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette.  

Decree of the Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs No. 102 of the year 2012  

Amending Certain Provisions of Decree of the Minister of Finance No. 544 of the year 2007 on the Rules Implementing the Provisions of the Social Insurance Law promulgated by Law No. 79 of the year 1975.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin, came into force on 1 July 2012.


Law No. 82 of the year 2012  

Regarding Granting Special Raise to State Civil Servants. A special monthly raise shall be granted as of 1 July 2012 to State civil servants at the rate of 15% of their basic salary on 30 June 2012 or on the date of appointment with regard to those appointed after that date, without minimum or maximum limits. This raise shall not be considered part of the basic salary of the civil servant and shall not be subject to any taxes or duties.

Official Journal issued on 14 July 2012 and shall come in to force as of 1 July 2012.


Ministerial Decree No. 357 of the year 2012  

Concerning the Rules Governing the Payment of the Monthly Special Raise Determined According to Law No. 82 of the year 2012.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin. Date of publication 15 July 2012.  


Law No. 81 of the year 2012  

Relates to the increase of pensions by 15%.

Official Journal, Issued on 14 July 2012 and came into force as of 1 July 2012.  


Ministry of Industry and Foreign Trade Decree No. 589 of the year 2012  

Imposing Final Precautionary Measures On Cotton and Mixed Yarn Imports.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin. Date of publication 18 July 2012. Issued on 16 July 2012 and came into force on 18 July 2012.  



New legislation is published in the Official Gazette. There is no set date for publication.


Law Amending the Civil Defence Law No. 27 of 2012

Provides the Civil Defence Department with additional authorisations.  

Issued on 18 July 2012


Law Amending General Sales Tax Law No. 26 of 2012

Amends Schedule 1 to the Law on services and products which are subject to the special tax by adding items to this list.  

Issued on 18 July 2012


Parliamentary Elections Law No. 25 of 2012

Cancels the Temporary Parliamentary Elections Law No. 9 of 2010 and sets out electoral rights and procedures.  

Issued on 1 July 2012


Amendment to the Regulation on Work Permit Fees for Non-Jordanians No. 48 of 2012

Amends the fees required for non-Jordanians for obtaining work permits in various sectors.  

Issued on 1 July 2012


Regulation on Temporary Admission of Machinery and Construction Equipment in Developmental and Free Zone Areas No. 43 of 2012

Provides for the procedures and information to be provided in the application form for registered establishments requesting temporary admission of machinery and construction equipment.  

Issued on 1 July 2012


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette. The following are the latest legislative updates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia according to the latest bulletins of the Official Gazette.  


Saudi Arabia publishes the new Arbitration Law in the Official Gazette  

On 8 June 2012, Saudi Arabia published in the Official Gazette the text of its new Arbitration Law, which took effect. The new law has been welcomed by many analysts as a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s embracement of international standards, as the law is largely modelled on the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law. However, there remain certain local considerations of which parties to any Saudi arbitration, as well as parties seeking to enforce arbitral awards in Saudi Arabia, must be aware.

As stated in the 13 April 2012 edition of the Official Gazette of Saudi Arabia, Um Al-Qura, the provisions of the new Arbitration Law would apply to arbitrations held under the Saudi Arbitration Law “without prejudice to the provisions of the Islamic Shari’ah”. The Islamic Shari’ah reservation is one that is reiterated throughout the Law, almost a dozen times.  

Perhaps the most important of the Shari’ah reservations is in Part 6 of the Law, which deals with the annulment of arbitration awards (including foreign awards). Under Article 50.2, an award can be annulled if it contains any violation of the provisions of Islamic Shari’ah and Saudi Arabian public policy or any violation of the agreement of the arbitration parties. Such an award can also be annulled in the following cases (Art. 50.1):

  • if a party to an arbitration agreement lacked capacity at the time of concluding the agreement;
  • if a party failed to submit his defence due to insufficient notice;
  • if the arbitration award excluded any of the regular rules agreed to be applied by the parties;
  • if the arbitration panel was formed in violation of the Law or of the agreement of the parties;
  • if the arbitration award settled issues not included in the Arbitration Agreement; nevertheless, if it shall be possible to isolate parts of the award related to arbitration from such parts related to issues not subject to the arbitration, annulment shall only be applied to the parts that are not subject to arbitration; and
  • if the Arbitration Panel failed to take the conditions that should be available in the award into consideration in a way that shall affect the content thereof or if the award depended on void arbitration procedures that have affected it.  

Although the new Arbitration Law demonstrates the Saudi Government’s endorsement of and embracing of a legal framework that brings certainty to the legal marketplace and to foreign investment, the continuous, repeated reservations on the basis of Islamic law and Saudi public policy do, to a certain extent, undermine this certainty. Interpreting and predicting how a Saudi judge or arbitrator will apply the Shari’ah remains difficult and somewhat evasive. Whereas some Shari’ah principles are well-established principles rooted in tradition, others are subject to a judge’s individual view or considerations as to fair application under equity.

One thing that remains clear is that a Saudi judge could still refuse to apply a contract or a foreign arbitral award on the basis of Saudi Arabian public policy and Shari’ah considerations, as under the old Arbitration Law.


Bulletin, 4 May 2012

Royal Decree No. M/30 dated 11/05/1433 H

Approves the Security Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of Malaysia signed at Riyadh on 14/05/1432 H., corresponding to 18/04/2011 G.  


Bulletin, 8 June 2012

Resolution No. 156 dated 17/05/1433 H.

Arbitration Law based on Organisational Arrangements for Judiciary Institutions and Dispute Resolution. The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry are required, in coordination with the Supreme Judicial Council and other related bodies, to prepare draft implementing regulations for this law.  


Bulletin, 15 June 2012

Royal Decree No. M/29 dated 04/05/1433 H.

Approves the Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of Romania to Avoid Double Taxation and Prevent Tax Evasion in respect of Income Tax and the Protocol, both signed at Riyadh on 22/05/1432 H., corresponding to 26/04/2011 G.  


Bulletin, 22 June 2012

Royal Decree No. M/31 dated 11/05/1433 H.

Approves the Anti-Money Laundering Law including provisions relating to the crimes of financing terrorism, acts of terrorism, and terrorist organisations as set forth in the Anti-Money Laundering Law Promulgated by Royal Decree No. M/39 dated 25/06/1424 H and shall remain applicable until the issuance and enforcement of the law appertaining to such crimes.  


Bulletin, 27 July 2012

Royal Decree No. M/35 dated 25/05/1433 H.

Approves The Arab Convention on Combating Information Technology Crimes.  


In the Press

Saudi Gazette, 28 July 2012

The Ministry of Labour clarified that the Royal Decree fixing minimum monthly salaries for Saudis at SR 3,000 applied to only government departments and to private companies and institutions.  


Arab News, 25 July 2012

Shops violating price regulations are to be fined. The MOCI has made it imperative for all shops to clearly display the price of every product they sell and violators could face severe penalties including fines of up to SR 100,000.


Arab News, 4 July 2012

The Saudi Public Retirement Fund is considering raising the retirement age for government employees from 60 to 65. Female employees will still be put on obligatory retirement when they have completed 20 years of service.  


Saudi Gazette, 3 July 2012  

An overhaul of the mortgage law has been given Cabinet go-ahead.


Arab News, 1 July 2012

Midday labour ban in place for construction and outdoor workers. The ban prohibits outdoor work between 12 noon and 3pm from 1 July until 31 August.  


Saudi Gazette, 13 June 2012

A new rental law protecting the rights of tenants and landlords is scheduled for signing.


Arab News, 10 June 2012

Drafting of a new law to protect the interests of both landlords and tenants and address increasing cases of rent default.  


Arab News, 1 June 2012

A committee is considering regulatory and legal frameworks for the formation of a Saudi workers’ union.


Saudi Gazette, 24 April 2012

A decision has been taken making it mandatory for all private sector companies to pay SR 200 per month to the Human Resources Development Fund for every foreign worker who exceeds the set quota of foreign employees at these firms.  



New legislation published in the Official Gazette and on the Kuwait Stock Exchange Website in Capital Market Authority (CMA) Announcements.  

Capital Market Authority Decision No 8. of 2012 regarding Real Estate Funds Investment Rules  

Introduces new rules and regulations regarding permitted investment for real estate investment funds. It prescribes the requirements of conditions relating to the real estate assets and their valuation. The Fund Manager is required to submit a report every six months to the investors stating the status of the fund.

Promulgated on 8 July 2012                                                       Effective from 8 July 2012  


Capital Market Authority Decision No 9. of 2012 regarding Monetary Funds Investment Rules  

Introduces the definition of monetary funds, which invest in low-risk monetary equipment. It prescribes restrictions regarding permitted investment for monetary investment funds. Also, it defines the duties and obligations of the Fund Manager.

Promulgated on 8 July 2012                                                       Effective from 8 July 2012  


Instruction No. HAM/R/QR/TE/3/2012 regarding Control of Money Laundering and Terrorism Finance

Introduces rules and regulations regarding control of money laundering and terrorism finance for all licensed entities and entities registered with CMA. The rules aim to increase transparency and accuracy in the Kuwait financial market. It also aims to protect the licensed entities from illegal transactions, which include money laundering and terrorism finance.

Promulgated on 14 July 2012                                                    Effective from 14 July 2012  


Capital Market Authority Decision No. 6 of 2012 regarding Holding Companies Subordination to Licensing Rules for Securities Transaction  

Explains that a holding company is not subject to CMA licensing rules for securities transactions if it sells and buys securities for its own account. Nevertheless, if the purpose of the holding company is to practise securities transactions or to be a market maker, then the holding company needs to have a license to deal in securities.

Promulgated on 24 June 2012                                                 Effective from 24 June 2012  


Sultanate of Oman  


New legislation is published in the Official Gazette.


Proposed Amendment to Mining Law SD 27/2003

The press has recently reported that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry is considering amendments to Oman’s existing mining law in an effort to prioritise local factories in the allocation of raw materials and maximise local benefits.  

H.E. Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, has been reported as saying that when issuing mining licences priority should be given to national companies rather than individuals, and that the transfer of mining licences will also be examined.

The existing law was issued in 2003 and regulates concessions for mining activities in the Sultanate of Oman.  


New legislation is published daily in the Official Gazette.


Regulation Introducing Amendments on the Application Regulation of the Foreign Direct Investments Law (Official Gazette No. 28342)

Introduces a clause providing that the Ministry shall evaluate newly established companies' requests on the opening of liaison offices in Turkey within the framework of elements such as the company's area of activity, capital and number of staff and may set a condition of lapse of at least a one-year period starting from the establishment of the company in order to grant the operating permit of the liaison office.  

Amends the finalisation of applications in relation to establishment and time extension of the operating permit of the liaison office from five business days to 15 business days from the date of the application, provided that all requested information/documents are full and complete.

Introduces a clause providing that if deemed necessary, the Ministry may finalise foreign companies' requests on the opening of liaison offices in other sectors where a permit, licence or similar authorisation needs to be taken, by considering the views of the institutions or organisations that shall grant such permit or licence.  

Brings forth additional documents for applications to open liaison offices in Turkey and revises the principles in relation to the activity process of the liaison offices in Turkey.

Promulgated on 3 July 2012                                               Effective from 3 July 2012  


Regulation Introducing Amendments to the Principles and Procedures Regulation of the Signing of Water Use Right Agreements to Conduct Generation Activities in the Electricity Market (Official Gazette No. 28343)

Introduces novelties to the application principles for signing water use right agreements, preparation and submission of feasibility reports, determination of the company to sign water use right agreement and environmental impact assessment report.

Amends Annex-1 (Sample Agreement on the Water Use Right and Operation Principles of Hydroelectric Power Generation Plant), Annex-5 (Undertaking) and Annex-6 (Draft Letter of Offer) and introduces Annex-2 (Service Charges).  

Promulgated on 4 July 2012                                             Effective from 4 July 2012


Regulation on Processing of Personal Data and Protection of Personal Data Privacy in the Electronic Communications Sector (Official Gazette No. 28363)

Sets forth the principles and procedures to be followed by operators in the electronic communications sector to process, store and protect the privacy of personal data in the electronic communications sector.  

Promulgated on 24 July 2012                                          Effective from 24 January 2012


Communiqué on Energy Efficiency Support, Serial No: 2012/3 (Official Gazette No. 28342)

Aims to determine the principles and procedures concerning the support of projects and applications in respect of increasing efficiency of existing systems and practices in industrial enterprises.  

Promulgated on 3 July 2012                                           Effective from 3 July 2012


Communiqué on the Implementation of Wind and Solar Measurements to be conducted for Licence Applications based on Wind and Solar Energy, Serial No: 2012/01 (Official Gazette No. 28349)

Aims to determine the principles and procedures concerning the conduct and assessment of wind and solar measurements to be made under the Measurement Standard Communiqué relating to Licence Applications based on Wind and Solar Energy published in the Official Gazette dated 22 February 2012 and numbered 28212.  

Promulgated on 10 July 2012                                         Effective from 10 July 2012