Court intervention in commercial arbitral proceedings in Saudi Arabia
: A comparative analytical study of Shari’ah based statutes and international arbitral practices

  • Essam Alsheikh

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The relationship between the judiciary and arbitration must be based upon integration and cooperation and not upon competition and tension. From this point, the competent court must play the vital role of supporting and assisting the arbitration process during its various stages. To the extent that this relation is successful and harmonized, arbitration will be effective in resolving disputes within the shortest time and at the least expense.
Judicial involvement in arbitral proceedings occurs during several stages of arbitration. This involvement starts with the competent court‟s decision to abstain from considering a case involving a dispute over an agreement that includes an arbitration clause. Court instead intervenes to enforce the arbitration agreement, supervising the selection of the arbitral tribunal and assisting in that process whenever the need arises. Thereafter, the court monitors the course of the arbitral proceedings by considering claims for the arbitrators' challenge and dismissal and, if such claims are successful, filling the resulting vacancy.
Court Intervention extends to include an important and critical stage of the arbitral proceedings, which is the stage of pleading before the competent court. Whereas the competent court enjoys the power to enforce judicial decisions, the arbitral tribunal does not have such power. In this context, judicial assistance is indispensable to the arbitral tribunal, for example, in resolving a preliminary point, issuing a subpoena to a witness who refuses to appear before the tribunal, consolidating arbitral proceedings, ordering an uncooperative party to provide documents related to the dispute, rendering interim and conservatory measures, and extending the time limit for rendering the arbitration award.
In considering the significance of the court's assistance of and support for arbitration at the procedural stage, the importance and contribution of this study is in its exploration of the pivots and patterns of the expected judicial review and assistance based upon both the provisions and rules of arbitration and judicial precedents. Interviews conducted with senior judges, arbitrators and chiefs of international arbitration centres provide a rich tributary that enhances this study and supports it with vast and vital experience and with fresh information that cannot be found in any previous scientific research of this
In short, this study focuses upon the conception of the judicial involvement in supporting arbitral proceedings inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and upon evaluating this involvement in comparison with the involvement of the judiciary in the rest of the GCC states and international applications in this regard. Moreover, the study offers proposals and recommendations to the Saudi legislator in particular and to the Gulf legislator in general, and draws a model framework for the relationship between the judiciary and arbitration during the proceedings stage.
Date of AwardFeb 2011
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMunir Maniruzzaman (Supervisor)

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