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Saudi courts can appoint counsel for criminal case defendants

The state will provide an attorney to defendants who cannot afford one.
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.

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