RIYADH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, May 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
The number of licensed female lawyers increased from 10 in 2013 to 221 in 2018
The Saudi Ministry of Justice today paid tribute to the kingdom's young men and women choosing to pursue careers in law, as figures emerged showing a significant rise in the number of lawyers nationwide.
The ministry said its internal tally of issued legal practice licenses showed a marked and "welcome" increase in the number of lawyers within the kingdom's justice system. The number of legal practice licenses granted last year represents a 34% increase on the number issued in 2016, and the ministry expects this trend to continue.
"We issued a total of 1,988 licenses for legal practice since the beginning of 2015," said the Ministry of Justice. "Around 45% of these were issued in 2016 alone - that's 775 licenses, 692 for male lawyers and 83 for female lawyers. This ongoing trend is a welcome boon to our justice system, particularly as it relates to the ministry's efficiency drive, in line with the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030."
The ministry called on female school-leavers across the kingdom to consider pursuing a career in the justice system, citing the encouraging increase in the number of licenses granted to women over the past five years.
"In 2013, there were only 10 licensed female lawyers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," says the ministry. "As of today, 221 women are officially registered with the ministry and are representing clients in the nation's courts."
As Saudi Arabia has sought to diversify its economy away from oil dependency, through the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030, the government has looked to its legal apparatus, calling on the Ministry of Justice to optimize its processes and soften bureaucracy in favor of individuals and businesses. Many of the ministry's reforms have witnessed the establishment of specialized courts that require legal practitioners with niche skillsets. The ministry believes these needs have driven the demand for, and subsequent surge in the number of, lawyers in the kingdom.
On completion of their law degree and subsequent professional training for three years, Saudis are immediately eligible to obtain a practice license from the Ministry of Justice. The licensee then has the authority to represent clients in Saudi courts and provide legal services. To support the increased demand for lawyers that can operate in specialized courts, the ministry launched the Law Training Center. Many of the center's trainees have founded specialized law-practice offices across the kingdom, a trend that the ministry believes has made it easier for individuals and organizations that need legal assistance.
One such area for which demand for legal assistance has been growing is that of commercial disputes.
"Private-sector growth in Saudi Arabia enabled us to open a practice dedicated to commercial disputes," said Mohammad, a licensed lawyer with private office, "and now we have access to the commercial courts system that the Ministry of Justice launched in October 2017. That's a major development for us, because it will make our work easier and allow us to greatly speed up resolution for our clients."
SOURCE Saudi Ministry of Justice