Saudi Arabia’s new personal status law, passed on Tuesday, will come into effect 90 days after its publication, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said.
The Crown Prince said the new law “was comprehensive in addressing all the problems that the family and women were suffering from”.
The Saudi Cabinet announced it had passed the personal status law as well as amendments to existing laws related to the protection of women and children. More details on the exact implications of the legislation have yet to be released.
Last October, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice said it would release a draft of the personal status draft law with the main focus being on “family and strengthening of bonds”.
Speaking at the Saudi Family Forum 2021 in October, Justice Minister Walid Al Samaani said that the personal status draft law was based on several goals, including a “focus on family status, strengthening the family bond wherever possible and reducing the negative impact of separation”.
Prince Mohammed announced plans last month to approve four new draft laws designed to enhance the efficiency and integrity of the kingdom’s judicial system — a step that will eventually lead to an entirely codified law.
The four laws include the personal status law, the civil transactions law, the penal code of discretionary sanctions and the law of evidence.
The absence of a clear legal framework for domestic and business issues has also led to ambiguity with respect to obligations, which has been “painful for many individuals and families, especially women, permitting some to evade their responsibilities”, Prince Mohammed said at the time.
“The Crown Prince indicated that the draft personal status law was derived from the provisions and purposes of Islamic Sharia and took into account the latest legal trends and modern international judicial practices, keeping abreast of developments and changes in reality, and that it would contribute to preserving the family and its stability as the basic component of society,” a statement by the Saudi Press Agency said.
The law “would work to improve the family and children's situation and control the discretionary power of the judge to reduce the discrepancy of judicial rulings in this regard”.