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Title: An examination of the role of Shariah in the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards in Saudi Arabia
Author: Alabdullah, Abdullah Mohammed
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 5048
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores the challenges encountered by parties seeking to have arbitral awards recognised and enforced within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Specifically, this thesis critically assesses the impact of Shariah on the enforcement of international awards within the Kingdom and aims to suggest actionable reforms to further develop the Saudi arbitration framework, and build on the modernisation efforts initiated through the Saudi Arbitration Law and Enforcement Law, both issued in 2012. This study aims to examine issues around the treatment and enforcement of domestic and international awards under the Saudi legal system and dispute settlement machinery. Particular focus will be directed to the differences between the enforcement of domestic and foreign awards, and the challenges that arise therein. By way of critical analysis, this thesis explores the history and development of arbitration law and procedure in Saudi Arabia, focusing on the role of Shariah principles in contract construction and dispute resolution. By bringing Saudi arbitration procedures into greater alignment with international standards and practices, and curtailing the power of local courts, the New Arbitration Law has been widely welcomed as establishing a more hospitable arbitration environment for commercial actors, foreign and domestic. While the New Saudi Arbitration Regime aimed to bring much-needed certainty and predictability to Saudi-based commercial arbitration awards, the Saudi legal system is still in its infancy and struggling to balance its Shariah roots with secular practices. As this thesis explores, the Saudi model of contract construction and dispute resolution is not yet embedded in a settled or ‘gapless’ body of legal principles, in large part because of on-going contestation among Islamic scholars over the scope and meaning of Shariah principles. While the new law significantly curtails the review power of local courts, judicial authorities in Saudi Arabia continue to enjoy broad discretion to reopen a final non-localised arbitral award issued elsewhere and to subject it to review on the merits. The grounds for annulment, revision or refusal to enforce include any agreement deemed to contravene Shariah law, Saudi public policy and prior Saudi court decrees, in addition to other public policy related defences. In the final analysis, the proposed thesis will consider the potential impacts of Shariah on arbitral award enforcement proceedings initiated in Saudi Arabia. At the level of conceptual analysis, the proposed research reflects on the familiar tension between international regulations, which is principally achieved through harmonisation of applicable arbitral procedures and the domestic enforcement of applicable national (substantive) laws on arbitration. From these premises, the proposed thesis will critically evaluate the extent to which Saudi arbitration law has reconciled the modernising ambitions of an ‘commerce friendly’ arbitration regime and where progress is still needed to achieve efficient and effective award enforcement.
Supervisor: Devenney, James Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available