Saudi Arabia - Part E - Arbitration in the MENA
Originally from Arbitration in the MENA
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the centre of the Islamic faith and one of the very few countries in the world where the teachings of the religion of Islam are either the substantive law or at least the main source of legislation. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is a member of the G20 and has been experiencing rapid economic growth, executing a steady plan to move from an oil-based economy to one based on diversified services and knowledge, according to which arbitration should play a major role in the legal system.
Arbitration is not a new concept in Shari’a or for Muslims. Arbitration has been deeply rooted in Arab history for thousands of years as the main method of dispute settlement. Prior to Islam, Arabs had their own arbitration rules and practices that evolved from their simple lives and their need to carry on with their daily activities without disturbance. Arab and Muslim history is full of incidents that were solved directly through arbitration. Due to the absence of a firm set of laws, arbitration becomes closer to conciliation or ex aequo et bono arbitration, which may be due to the nature of arbitration in the Quran, as will be seen below. This culture has consistently existed throughout Muslim history, especially in jurisdictions such as modern Saudi Arabia, where most aspects of substantive law are not codified.
This chapter provides general background information regarding the Saudi arbitration legislation, practices, sources, and application.