Saudi Arabia is a country which is well known for its judiciary, a crime will always be punished no matter what and a dispute has to be resolved for the people and the society to move forward. This is one of the reasons for lack of anarchy and relative peace in Saudi Arabia than other parts of the world. Out of court settlements are always encouraged because of the harsh punishments, but if not achieved then the court will perform its own manner of justice. The judiciary system of Saudi Arabia is riddled with committees for each and every minor thing which are overlooked in most of the countries, and unlike most countries these committees are not stagnant and are often found working.
The Saudi Arabian court system is divided into Shari’a (Islamic law) Courts and statuary tribunals. Traditionally, the Shari’a courts have been courts of general jurisdiction, and they are mainly concerned with matters relating to land, family disputes, personal injury claims and criminal cases. Of the statuary tribunals, the most important by far is the Board of Grievances. Its jurisdiction includes disputes involving the Saudi Arabian Government, most types of commercial cases, the enforcement of foreign judgments, arbitral awards. Employment disputes also come in the statuary tribunals under the jurisdiction of the Commission for the Settlement of Labor disputes, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Labor. Under the judicial reforms, the jurisdiction of the commission of the Settlement of Labor Disputes will be transferred to labor courts within the Shari’a courts structure.
There are two types of labor courts, also known as commissions. The Preliminary Commission has the jurisdiction only for small causes, that is, for labor disputes up to SR 10, 000. This commission also takes care of issues like termination of contracts. The high Commission, on the either hand, has more powers and deals with labor disputes involving sums above SR 10,000. One can appeal the decisions of the preliminary commission to the High commission. Both the commissions have the legal power to inspect the premises of any firm and their record books, when a dispute is involved. Employees who have disputes with their employing company are strongly advised or make an initial attempt to resolve their situation privately and cordially between themselves and their employers. If this fails, the employee’s only avenue of legal course is to make a complaint against their employer at the Main Labor Office in Jeddah in Arabic and should be addressed to Director of Main Labor Office, Mr. Abdulraouf Al-Gaidy.
Al-Gaidy will, in turn, refer it to the Claims Division of the Labor office for appropriate action. Upon receipt of the complaint by the Chief of Claims Division, it will be referred to the appropriate section to investigate the case. Testimony for the both employee and employer may be required by the authorized official of the Claims division. The decision taken by the Claims division under High Commission is final. Failure to adhere to the decision will result in enforcement of the decision by the local authorities.
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