Saudi courts can appoint counsel for criminal case defendants

The state will provide an attorney to defendants who cannot afford one.
Updated 19 February 2018
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Saudi courts can appoint counsel for criminal case defendants

JEDDAH: Defendants in criminal courts who cannot afford an attorney will be provided one at the expense of the state, said Walid Al-Samaani, the justice minister and chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council.
Al-Samaani said a defense lawyer’s fees would “vary between SR3,000 ($800) and SR5,000 per hearing, provided that his total remunerations do not exceed SAR100,000 for all sessions.”
He added that when there were multiple defendants for the same case, fees could vary between SAR 3,000 and SAR 5,000 per session for the first defendant and between SR1,000 and SR2,000 for any other defendants, provided that the total fees did not exceed SR150,000.
The justice minister noted that if a court session is rescheduled on grounds not related to the defense lawyer, the latter would be entitled to receive half of the amount specified for the hearing. If the case is tried in a court outside the jurisdiction of the lawyer’s office, he will be entitled to SR1,000 per session.
Fawaz Al-Tamimi, director general of law, said lists of proposed defense lawyers are being prepared in each region, which would be updated annually and approved by the undersecretary of the ministry.
He pointed out that a committee formed by the ministry would receive the request from the court to appoint a lawyer to defend criminal defendants before the hearing session. It would decide on the request and the name of the nominated lawyer within five days.
“The court-appointed lawyer must be a member of the Saudi Bar Association, not be subject to any disciplinary action, and approved by the competent court,” said Al-Tamimi. He emphasized that the lawyer could not relinquish any case without first sending a written request to the committee at least ten days before the date of the hearing, justifying his motives. However, he must attend the hearings until the committee decided on his request.


Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior has received more than 120,000 applications for driving licenses so far

Updated 34 min 31 sec ago
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Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior has received more than 120,000 applications for driving licenses so far

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior has established six driving schools for women in different regions of Saudi Arabia, according to an interior ministry spokesperson.

Mansour Al-Turki said on Sunday that the ministry has received more than 120,000 applications for driving licenses so far and demand is still very high.

Saudi women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time in decades on Sunday as the Kingdom overturned the world’s only ban on female motorists, a historic reform expected to usher in a new era of social mobility.

At a press conference to mark the occasion, Al-Turki said there are 9 districts where female driving schools have not yet been established and there is evidence to suggest women in these areas want to learn.

The interior ministry spokesperson urged motorists not to violate regulations and infringe on the rights and freedoms of others.

Meanwhile, Director General of the Saudi Traffic Directorate, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami said the directorate has developed a device to identify and verify driving licenses through a fingerprinting system.

He acknowledged there is great awareness among women in dealing with traffic rules and regulations, adding there are no traffic exemptions for women, only for people with special needs.

The move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s plan to modernize and reform Saudi Arabia.