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A.1       Legislation

International arbitration in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to be governed by the arbitration law issued by Royal Decree No. 34/M, dated 24/5/1433H (corresponding to 16 April 2012G) and its implementing regulations (which came into force on 7 June 2017), which replaced the arbitration law issued by Royal Decree No. 46/M, dated 12/7/1403H, to which no notable amendments have been made since.

A.2       Institutions, rules and infrastructure

The Saudi Center for Commercial Arbitration (SCCA) continues to be the leading domestic and international commercial arbitration center in the kingdom. The SCCA commenced operations in 2017. It is a sophisticated arbitration center based on UNCITRAL rules.

The SCCA provides simplified and expedited procedures, which are special fast-track, simplified and reduced-cost procedures to administer the arbitration process. Expedited procedures apply in any case where the aggregate amount in dispute does not exceed SAR 4 million (approximately USD 1.07 million). Expedited procedures provide parties with a rapid filing process, an abbreviated procedure to appoint the arbitrator, the possibility to render the award based solely on parties’ written submissions without holding hearings, and abbreviated timelines. The final award is rendered within 180 days from the date the tribunal is constituted.

On 1 May 2023, the SCCA published its revised SCCA Arbitration Rules. These rules apply to all arbitration with retroactive effect. Pursuant to the 2023 Arbitration Rules, the SCCA Court, which was established in 2022, has several powers, such as the appointment of an emergency arbitrator, consolidation of multiple arbitrations at the request of a party or the arbitral tribunal, deciding on a number of arbitrators in cases where there is a lack of agreement between the parties, nomination of arbitrators, and deciding on the admissibility and merits of the challenge of arbitrators.

In November 2022, the SCCA announced that it had opened its first office outside of Saudi Arabia in the Dubai International Financial Center, one of the most prominent centers in the region. The SCCA continues to work in the UAE under the name “SCCA Dubai” and offers arbitration and mediation services in the UAE.

B.         CASES

We are not aware of any new notable arbitration cases to report in the kingdom. In general, Saudi courts and other adjudicatory authorities do not report their decisions, and earlier decisions of the courts and other adjudicatory authorities of Saudi Arabia are not considered to establish a binding precedent for decisions in later cases. Due to the fact that arbitral awards are not made public, it is difficult to obtain information about new arbitrations.

The SCCA has published statistics relating to the enforcement of arbitral awards in the kingdom for 2022. It appears from the publication that of the 88 motions to annul an arbitral award (apparently covering both domestic and foreign awards), 94% of the motions were denied, only 5% were granted in full, and 1% were granted in part.


Abdulrahman Al Ajlan is a partner and head of the litigation practice in Baker McKenzie's Riyadh office. He has been practicing law in Saudi Arabia for 15 years and has extensive experience in litigation and arbitration in the Kingdom.


Anton Mikel is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Riyadh office. He specializes in litigation and arbitration.


Rami Bou Raad has been practicing in the Middle East for many years. He specializes in litigation and disputes resolution across a variety of industry sectors, including construction, real estate, pharmaceutical and general commercial disputes.