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Supreme Court


Appellate courts have jurisdiction over appealable judgments from first-instance courts. They render decisions after hearing litigants according to the Law of Civil Procedures and the Law of Criminal Procedures. They also hear petitions for reconsideration of judgments from first-instance courts under specific conditions, such as discovery of forged documents or new conclusive evidence post-judgment, fraud by the adversary impacting the judgment, inconsistency in the judgment text, judgments in absentia, or judgments against improperly represented persons. Those implicated by the judgment but not included or intervening in the case have the right to request reconsideration of the final judgment.

Appealable Judgments:

The Supreme Court primarily serves not as a forum for dispute resolution, but as a platform for appealing against rulings issued by other courts. It evaluates these rulings in terms of their legal validity, application, and interpretation, as well as procedural adherence, without delving into factual descriptions or evidence assessment. In specific cases of hudud and qisas, however, the Supreme Court does function as a trial court. This three-tiered judicial approach in Saudi Arabia highlights the nation's commitment to human rights protection, particularly in areas directly impacting the individual.

Location of the Supreme Court:

As per the Law of the Judiciary, the Kingdom's judicial system is headed by a single Supreme Court, located in Riyadh.

Formation of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court comprises a President and numerous judges at the “appellate court president” level. A general panel, led by the court’s President and encompassing all its judges, establishes general judicial principles and addresses specific legal matters. This panel convenes formally with a minimum two-thirds member attendance, including the President or his delegate. Decisions are made by a majority vote, with the session chair’s side prevailing in case of a tie. These decisions are final.

Appointment of the Supreme Court members:

President of the Court: Appointed through a Royal Order, the President holds Ministerial rank and can only be dismissed by Royal Order. They must meet appellate court president qualifications, with the longest-serving Supreme Court panel president acting as substitute in their absence.

Supreme Court Judges: Appointed via royal order upon the Supreme Judicial Council's recommendation, candidates must meet the qualifications of appellate court presidents.

Work Mechanism of the Supreme Court:

The Court operates through specialized panels, each consisting of three judges, except for the five-judge criminal panel handling hudud and qisas cases. Each panel is led by a president, appointed alongside panel members by the Supreme Judicial Council, based on the Supreme Court President's recommendation. The Court also employs researchers, technicians, administrators, clerks, and registrars as required. Panel sessions are presided over by their respective presidents, with absent members replaced by other panel members, as appointed by the Supreme Court President. When a panel or appellate court intends to deviate from an established judicial principle, the matter is referred to the Supreme Court's general panel for resolution.

Panels of the Supreme Court:

Given the court’s extensive jurisdiction, multiple panels are formed and cases distributed among them as needed. These panels, handling diverse case types like criminal, personal status, commercial, and labor, are internal organizational units of the court. Each is granted specific jurisdiction by law, ensuring no jurisdictional conflicts within the court.

Goals of the Supreme Court:

The Law of the Judiciary positions the Supreme Court at the apex of Saudi Arabia's judicial system to:

  1. Ensure legal provisions are correctly applied in general judiciary cases.
  2. Highlight any legislative gaps to protect public interests and individual rights.
Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court:

The Court's jurisdiction encompasses:

  1. Reviewing hudud and qisas cases as a trial court, following standard trial procedures.
  2. Overseeing appellate court rulings for legal violations, improper court constitution, jurisdictional errors, and factual mischaracterizations.
  3. Considering requests to resume cases dismissed due to unexcused plaintiff absences.
  4. Resolving petitions for reconsideration of first-instance court judgments based on new evidence, fraud, inconsistencies, or procedural erro
Reasons for Appeal by Cassation:

Appeal by cassation is permissible for appellate court judgment defects, specifically:

  1. Legal provision violations.
  2. Judgments by improperly constituted courts.
  3. Judgments by incompetent courts or panels.
  4. Factual mischaracterizations.

These exclusive reasons allow for multiple grounds in a single appeal.​

Last Modified : 14 Jul 2024

سياسة الخصوصية شروط الإستخدام خريطة الموقع جميع الحقوق محفوظة لدى وزارة العدل ©