Criminal Defense in Saudi Arabia: An Empirical Study of the Practice of Criminal Defense in Saudi Arabia
Al-Hamoudi, Abdulaziz K.
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For the first time in Saudi Arabia's legal history, the Law Reform of 2001 recognized the practice of criminal defense and defendants' right to the assistance of an attorney. Since 2001, the right to legal representation has been enforced, and the practice of criminal defense has been allowed. Nonetheless, the position of the practice of criminal defense within the Saudi legal system remains unclear both in theory and in practice. This study examines the practice of criminal defense in Saudi Arabia. It addresses the situation before and after the emergence of defense lawyers. It presents the history of law practice and the arguments for and against this profession. Equally, it focuses on the defendant's right to legal representation, since it is associated with the practice of criminal defense. For this purpose, I conducted an empirical study, in which I interviewed judges and lawyers who have been involved in the application of the laws relevant to the practice of criminal defense. The interviews revealed that the practice of criminal defense has had a good start and is heading in the right direction. Based on the results, it is obvious that the majority of interviewed judges are of the view that the practice of criminal defense is in line with Islamic principles of justice. The results also reveal that criminal defense services are much needed in the Saudi justice system. Since engaging in the practice of criminal defense in 2001, criminal defense counsels have made a significant difference in case outcomes and a positive impact on the justice system.
- Law