Law in Saudi Arabia

Law in Saudi Arabia Last updated on Sunday 25th April 2010

As Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state, all law is based on the Holy Quran. It is called Sharia law and governs both criminal and civil cases.

The Quran itself is considered the constitution of the country and provides ethical values and guidance.

Executive and legislative authorities are exercised by the King and the Council of Ministers within the framework of Islamic law. The Kingdom's ministries and all other government agencies are ultimately responsible to the King.

Islam is the faith on which The Kingdom is founded. To understand the law, history, political, economic and social development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is necessary to realize that Islam, which permeates every aspect of a Muslim's life, also permeates every aspect of the Saudi Arabian state including the law.

Underlying the judicial structure are the four schools of thought in Islamic law. They are: the Hanbali school; the Shafii school; the Hanafi school; and the Maliki.

Before the unification of the Saudi judicial system, the courts, as well as individual judges, used to derive their legal judgments from these various schools. In the Western Region, for instance, there were two dominant schools of thought - the Hanafi, and the Shafii, whereas in the Central Region, the Hanbali school had been the only major source of legal guidance.

The Courts/Judiciary in the Kingdom now issue their rulings/judgments/decisions on the basis of what is stated in the Holy Quran and on the Sunna (practices/mode of life) of the Prophet, and is guided without being limited to the specific opinion of any one of the aforementioned schools of law.

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