Recently the Courts and Legal System of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia introduced a new Royal Decree No. M/16 on 30/1/1443H to amend the judicial cost systems and implement the court fee for the newly filed legal suits. The new Law came into effect on 13th March 2022, encouraging litigants to settle their disputes amicably.

Even though the filing charges are already in existence in most countries, this is the new implementation by the Courts in Saudi Arabia, where there have been no filing charges or court fees since the inception of the Civil Courts in the jurisdiction. Since there were no filing charges earlier, the courts in Saudi Arabia were struggling with voluminous cases, which resulted in lengthy court proceedings and delays in pronouncing decisions.

The new Law applies to all lawsuits, petitions, and requests submitted to the Courts except Criminal Cases, Disciplinary Cases, or Cases relating to the Provision of Bankruptcy Law. The Law also exempts specific categories from paying the court fee, including the claim brought by the employees about their employment contracts and claims commenced by ministries and government bodies.

The new Law, or “Judicial Fee Law,” stipulates the different fees applicable to claims and applications. When the Law sets a certain percentage of the claim amount as the court fee payable for various categories of Civil Suits, including but not limited to the legal suit to nullify the Arbitral Award, the maximum ceiling of court fee is set out is SAR 1,000,000 under all categories. However, the fee shall be reduced to 25% of the fee payable if the parties settle after the first hearing but before the court’s decision in the case, and the balance shall be refunded if paid. Further, the Law also states that if a request results in a change in the estimation of the value of the case, the judicial costs of the case will be calculated based on the estimation of the new value thereof.

The Law also has a provision for refunding the entire amount of Court Fee paid in the event of (1) If the decision or Judgment pronounced in favor of the Plaintiff or the Claimant; Appellant or Applicant; (2) If the Claimant withdraws the claim by the applicable rules before the first hearing; (3) If the Parties settles the dispute before the end of the first hearing; (4) If any Civil claim was raised alongside the Criminal Proceedings and the Civil Claims is settled between the Parties regardless of the stage of the case.

However, it is also to be noted that except in limited circumstances, failure to pay the court fees does not prevent the court from hearing and determining the claim and application.